"You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth." (Deuteronomy 32:18 NIV)
The other day, I had to round up my younger daughter's birth certificate...the official one with the raised seal, not the commemorative one that would be in her scrapbook if I was the kind of mom who made scrapbooks for her children.
When I looked at her birth certificate, the heading grabbed me: "Certificate of Live Birth." It caught me off guard a little...and then made me grateful again for her birth and for her life.
We all have this "certificate of live birth," but God is not done birthing us. In the Creator's hands, standing on the Rock our Father, we are always being reborn, remade, renewed.
"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again' " (John 3:3).
"He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created" (James 1:18).
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).
"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:23).
John 16:21 says, "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."
I'd probably bristle at this were it not for the fact that remembering and forgetting as they are referenced here have to do with acting or not acting on what we recall. "Forget" in this framework doesn't mean the mental record of pain is wiped away but rather that I don't act on it in terms of how I relate to my children. I recall the pain of my girls' births just fine but consider it nothing compared to the joy of having them. The gift of life with them was worth getting to.
When God births us in a new way or causes something new to be born in us, there's almost always some pain involved. This is where we have to trust the goodness of the Creator. This is where we have to claim the loving intentions of the God who gave us birth. This is where we have to hold onto the Rock. This is where we have to wait for the Joy-Giver and believe that the gift of life with Him is worth getting to.