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Monday, October 25, 2004

Childbirth and the curse

Genesis 3:16
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Becoming a father is an incredible experience. Nothing in the world is like it. Though I'd heard many delivery stories before, no story could match being in the room.

The curse is pretty straightforward: "in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." No matter how good the drugs are, a new child comes forth in sorrow; just read Devona's post about her labor. As I watched through bleary eyes my wife laying in a puddle of her own blood, putting every ounce of strength into the birth of our daughter, I couldn't help but think "we can't escape this."

We can try to mask it, but life is hard and we are really quite frail when faced with the facts. We're born with blood and guts, anguish and sorrow, naked and screaming. I don't know what death is like yet, but it's got to be just as humbling. Throughout the four hours leading up to Olivia's birth, the theology of the cross kept coming back to me: We apprehend our need for Christ through suffering. Christ apprehends us through suffering and death on the cross.

I also have a new respect for Mary, who gave birth with help from only Joseph and not even a chance at an epidural. Only that child was Christ Jesus, the true Son of God. He was "a man of sorrows" from day one to Good Friday.