"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
II Corinthians 1:3-4
|image courtesy of bbaunach via flickr|
Of course it’s easy me to say that it was good, since Joanna bore most of the burden (and all of the morning sickness). When she was pregnant with Hannah, I just thought morning sickness was just some weird thing in her mind (guys: don’t tell her that this is what you think; it won’t go well). When she was pregnant with Elijah, it meant that Hannah and I went out to dinner 3 or 4 days a week. In fact, when she was pregnant with each of our boys, Joanna had morning sickness right through my birthday, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. No big celebrations those years.
All our kids spit up a lot, but Hannah was the worst. Days were common where she would leave over a dozen burp cloths completely soaked in a single day. Not just a little messed up, but saturated with her spit up.
Hannah fell off the growth charts between 4 and 6 months old. We didn’t know any better. She was not a big crier, Joanna was breastfeeding, and this was our first child, so we had nothing to compare too. I think she gained 5 ounces in those two months. Joanna also had to work really hard to keep up with nursing the boys.
Morning sickness. Spitting up. Struggle to breastfeed. All these things wore us out.
But all these things were for good.
They aren’t good so that we could wear them as a red badge of courage. (Well, maybe not red, but whatever color was eaten last, but more pungent and curdled.) We don’t want to go around bragging about how hard we had it, even if because we know lots of folks who have had it much worse.
The reason we can celebrate these things is so that we can bring comfort and empathy to someone who is struggling with the same thing.
When another young couple experiences the same struggles, we probably cannot solve their problems. But we can say, “You know, we’ve been there. And it sucks. It wore us out, and I know it must be wearing you out.”
As a guy, I would much rather fix someone else’s problems (guys: here is another free hint – our wives usually just want us to listen and seek to understand). But sometimes, God just has us in a situation to connect with someone else’s pain, to help them bear that burden without fixing it.
Without minimizing their struggle, we can remind them that this is just a season that will pass, and that one day the God of comfort will use them to comfort others in the same situation (see the verse above). We are here to bear one another’s burdens.
Even more, we can use trials like this to worship Jesus. How? By remembering (and reminding each other) that Jesus knows our weaknesses and struggles (Hebrews 4:15). He took on humanity, and endured what we endure. And He endured it to an extreme that we couldn’t imagine, so that He could receive all glory.
Share with the rest of us in the comments: What was the hardest part of your pregnancy or having a young child?
"For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
II Corinthians 1:5-7