“But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.”
Isaiah 42 paints a pretty interesting picture of God. God a woman in the child birthing process? A woman in labor?
If you are like me, this isn’t an image of God I hear or talk about often when describing God. I love images like “God as King” or “God as light” or “God as love.” Rarely, if ever do I use the image of “God as a woman giving labor.” That seems strange and not something we hear worship songs written about. The great thing about the scriptures though, is they give us tons of pictures of God to think about and reflect on. Each word or image used to describe God tells us some about who He is.
So what does God being a woman in labor tell us about himself? And what does this mean for us?
As someone who has been in the room with a woman in labor, it is painful. It is not something women look forward to in the child-birthing process. The hours and the pain women go through to give birth is something that cannot be matched by most anything else in this world. What is amazing about labor is you have to work through the pain to get the new life on the other side. Doctors will give you medicine so the woman cannot feel it as much, but it is still painful, hard and not something women want to do every week.
Isaiah, I think, tells us something about God in correlation to being described as a woman in labor that is super relatable. In our lives we experience things that are painful. Whether it is a loss of a family member or someone you love. It could be that you experience a break up, and you feel like your stomach is in knots. Maybe you are someone that has seen your parents split up and you experienced that pain. Maybe it is as simple as having a difficult decision that you are hurting from. Whatever it is, if you are like me, in that moment I want God to take the pain away. I want God to fix it. I want him to be the God of Power who uses his influence to change what is going on around me. And although that isn’t a bad thing to ask…when we view God as a woman in labor, it can change our way of seeing God.
Because maybe God chooses an image to describe himself that doesn’t take away the pain, but uses that painful season to bring about something new and awesome. Like a woman in labor, it is useless to fight the pain of giving birth; you are going to experience it. The joy of the pain though, is that something new, a baby, will come from it.
Maybe God talks about himself as a woman in labor to let us know that He works inside the pain to bring about something beautiful. Maybe God is working inside your pain, not taking it away, because He's going to produce something beautiful on the other side if we fight with Him through it.
There is hope in our God who is in the pain with us.