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Birth Pains vs. Death Throes

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” – Matthew 24:4-8

For most of my life when I read the prophecies of the end times in the Bible, I tended to think in terms of death: the death of people … the death of animals … the death of plants … the death of the earth. But these words that Jesus spoke recently leapt off the page at me: “All these things are the beginning of birth pains.”

Do you hear it? Jesus doesn’t describe these horrible things that are coming as “death throes.” He describes them as “birth pains.” That changes my perspective entirely! Whereas death throes are the precursor to grief and loss and emptiness, birth pains are the prelude to joy and fullness and life.

So, as you read the headlines and feel pain searing through you at the terrible things that are happening in our world, remember this: you are feeling the beginning of birth pains. The labor will be difficult, but it will come to an end. And, in that end, there will be a glorious new beginning: “in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (II Peter 3:13).

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