A THEOLOGICAL LESSON FROM PREGNANCY
I’ll never forget the day I found out that my wife was pregnant. The day I knew my life would be forever changed.
But somewhere between the day I found out we were going to be having a child and the day of her arrival in the [quickly-approaching] future, there is a period of preparation and waiting. It’s the period I find myself in now.
The pregnancy phase is truly unlike anything else I have ever experienced. In many ways, it feels like a 40-week roller coaster ride. In the past several months, I’ve faced overwhelming happiness, bursts of adrenaline-filled excitement, crippling trepidation, and complete helplessness.
But I’ve recently realized that my wife being pregnant has been more than just an emotional roller coaster. Because I’ve come to see that the pregnancy phase has been a tremendous teacher for me.
It has taught me how incredible the intricacies of God’s design truly are. How perfect and awe-inspiring his creation really is. It has given me a new appreciation for women in general and my amazing wife in particular. I have been reminded of how incredibly strong she is and how well she has handled this new calling upon her life.
Pregnancy has shed new light regarding the significance of a strong, healthy marriage for the family. Because if we were not married, all of the emotions and fear and being overwhelmed would not be shared burdens. But the marriage bond allows us to prepare for the responsibility of raising this new life together. And it will serve as the most important relationship that our children witness.
Pregnancy has also reminded me of how faithful God is. Of course, I know about the faithfulness of God from the promises of Scripture and the witness from other experiences in my life. But God’s faithfulness has become real to me during this time more than ever before.
And because my wife is the one who has had to endure the brunt of the hardship and discomfort of pregnancy, I have been repeatedly reminded of my role as a husband to love my wife and to serve her in every possible way I can.
The pregnancy phase has been a tremendous teacher for me. But perhaps more than anything, pregnancy has taught me to live with patience that parallels the sanctification process of the Christian life. To live in the tension of the already and the not yet.
The day our little one was conceived, I became a father. The day I found out the news, I was overwhelmed with joy. I couldn’t wait to hear her heartbeat. To see her sonogram. To feel her kick inside my wife’s womb.
Yet at the same time, I began longing for something greater. Even though those moments are precious, they are only a shadow of the things to come. I want to hold her in my arms. I want to see her precious smile. I want to feel how much I love her.
I want to raise her up in the message of the gospel. I want to demonstrate to her how she is supposed to be loved. I want to hug her when she’s sad and laugh with her when she’s happy. I want to watch her grow up and see her personality develop. I want to give her advice and counsel when she needs it and watch her figure things out on her own when she doesn’t. I want to give her away at her wedding, and I want to see how she glows when she carries her own little child someday down the road.
The heartbeat is great. The movement on the sonogram is mesmerizing. The kicks in my wife’s belly give me butterflies. But they are only a shadow of the things to come. Because pregnancy is just a picture of parenthood.
It’s the same theological tension of “already, and not yet” that we see in Scripture. The theological concept of “already, but not yet” describes the tension between the benefits of redemption already experienced here and now in this life and those benefits which we do not yet experience but that await us in the consummation in the life to come.
Already we experience the forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), but we are not yet completely free from the wickedness of our own heart (Romans 7:18–20).
Already we experience God’s presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), but we do not yet experience the fullness of God’s presence in glory (Revelation 21:3).
Already we worship him (Romans 12:1), but we do not yet worship perfectly and fully with a great multitude from every tribe and people and nation and tongue (Revelation 7:9–12).
Already we have eternal life (John 5:24), but we have not yet been united with God to see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
The Scriptures tell us we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and have already been glorified just as surely as we were justified (Romans 8:30). But although those promises are so sure to be fulfilled that it is as if they are already true, we do not yet experience them in the present life.
It’s a lot like pregnancy. Because the realities are already true, but they are not yet fully manifested. Even though I am already a father and can already feel my daughter kicking, I can’t actually hold her in my arms. In the same way, I have fellowship with God even now, but the fullness of that fellowship is yet to come.
I’m enjoying the present phase because it’s great. And it’s where we are supposed to be right now.
But I’m longing for an even greater future.