Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (John 3:4)
It wasn't until two years ago this morning that i grasped the reality of this verse. We tend to think that being born again is a simple, painless accomplishment that hurls us into our afterlife. We accept Christ, we are born again.
The most beautiful things in this life, do not come to us easily. They are a continued work in progress. As I stood with my son, my daughter-in-law, and her mother that morning, I witnessed the birth of my granddaughter. Yes, perfect and beautiful! It took over nine months of shaping and growing within her mother, another 12 hours of labor, some of it hard, some of it easy - but painful all the way. It took about 10 minutes of concentrated effort on my daughter-in-law's part for Mikhaela Grace to enter the world! God's perfect miracle! And in these past two years, that child has brought me more joy than I ever imagined possible!
Our walk of faith is not an easy one. Being born again is not just something you do. It is the very real and very painful realization that we are nothing, sinners destined for the grave. Without the hand of Jesus leading us, we cannot enter. Without the Father's forgiveness we cannot proceed. We are but infants; we know nothing about that which the Father has in store for us. Our rebirth is often as painful as our natural birth was. We, too, must suffer through the trials of life that bring us to the foot of the cross. We, too, must be pushed beyond our own limits in order to rely totally on Him. We, too, must be cleansed and wrapped tightly before being placed in the hands of our capable Father. He then holds us, lovingly whispers to us in gentle tones, and tells us that we are loved. From that point on, we grow. But our growth will not come without pain, it will not come without sorrow and it will not come without loss.
Our tears of pain will become tears of joy and utter disbelief at the beauty of the life within us, the revealing of the life that awaits us and the struggles we will face from the time we accept Christ until the time He walks us into Paradise! We are chosen, adopted into a very well-to-do family! There is no greater honor! We are accepted as "chosen". We are loved as equally and as generously as the nation of Abraham! There is no birth certificate that bears our name, but there is a witness to our re-birth! He will attest to our heritage! He will validate our adoption! In Mikhaela's case, she has an opportunity that not many have. You see, not only does she have the opportunity to become a "naturalized" child of God through her acceptance of Jesus, she goes before the Father as one of the offspring of Abraham! She is directly descended from one of the twelve tribes (as is her mother, her grandfather and her great-grandparents).
It does not matter what events bring us to the foot of the cross, it doesn't matter what horrors we face in this life, it doesn't matter how much or how little we suffer in order to reach that cross. Our pain and suffering can never compare to the suffering of our Savior as He took the nails for us! In His blood we are cleansed. Through His resurrection He breathes new life into us! The sorrows of our hearts are known to Him and He will comfort us. He will not abandon us to fend for ourselves! We are His! He feels our pains, shines brightly with us in our joys and will one day, take our hand and lead us safely into the waiting arms of our Father!