This week, God has led me to explore the pictures of God’s love through parenthood. Many of my friends will be celebrating Mother’s Day in a few weeks, which lends to me thinking more and more about the idea. I am not a parent yet, but the Holy Spirit is definitely rearranging my perspective of having children.
In the last post, I explained my view of adoption as the most beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love. Recently, the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to another, equally beautiful, reflection of God’s perfect relationship offered to us: pregnancy.
So here it is…. Pictures of Selfless Love for a (future) Mama, Part 2: Pregnancy
As usual, the transformation of my mind came through God’s Word. In bed with a sore throat, I spent some time with my podcast app in effort to engage my spirit and mind, though my body was out of commission (it was an epic sore throat, ok). I listened to this sermon on Philippians 2, from Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth — and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11 HCSB)
Keller explained that many of us do not actually love or serve others out of selfless motives. He theorized that most of us love others as a means to meet our own needs: the need for love in return, the need for relationship, the need to be needed. As Keller puts it, God is calling us to love from a place of having already been satisfied, as Christ did.
God–Father, Son and Spirit–did not create man out of a need for relationship. As a complete trinity, the Three had already experienced perfect satisfaction in their friendship… before the beginning of time! Thus, God’s willingness to create was an overflow of His love and relationship from within.
His satisfaction inspired creation! God created that He might share that perfection of love and friendship with more beings: angels, humanity, etc. His love is not just displayed in redemption of creation (adoption) but the creation of humanity for relationship in the first place (conception).
Keller’s point, of course, was that we should be so completely satisfied in our relationship with the Lord (as Jesus was), that our “considering others greater than ourselves” is an outpour from satisfaction, not a pursuit to fill a need.
But God works in funny ways. What Keller meant for general Christian charity, the Holy Spirit meant for a dramatic shaping of my perspective of pregnancy and childbirth. The Holy Spirit used this message to show how creation of another human being is not always rooted in selfish motives (as was my fear). How incredible is God’s Word!
I am now grasping the depth of these pictures of God’s love for us. His first act of love was creation in the first place! He conceived humanity as the fruit of perfect connection and relationship within the trinity. God was so pregnant with love, so expectant to sharing that relationship with others, that He created! What a picture of love. What a picture of God and relationship.
His second act of love was redemption. The overwhelming longing to bring in the lost and broken children of the world, He sacrificed everything to adopt us.
Both creation and redemption are equally beautiful and both equally necessary for relationship.
Both conception and adoption are equally beautiful pictures of that relationship we have with Christ.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is, I am starting to get this whole “having a baby” thing. All my misgivings, doubts, and frustration with the idea vanish in light of the sweet selflessness of God to both create and redeem me.
Again, this is not a pregnancy announcement (I’ll be way more creative when that time comes). This is just me, being transparent with what God is doing in my life, in hopes to encourage you.
By God’s grace and undeserved blessings, we will get to experience both pictures of unconditional love as parents: through the overflow of love that inspires creation of a new being, and the overflow of love that inspires adoption and redemption of a lost one.
I’ll keep you posted on the journey till then.
What do you think about pregnancy and adoption? Have a different perspective? Please share!