If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it. —C. S. Lewis
A number of years ago, I was standing in the church foyer when I noticed a woman whose tummy was swollen. She held the small of her back and walked slowly—gingerly. I went over, introduced myself, and asked, “When’s the baby due?”
You only make that mistake once.
Generally speaking you can usually tell when a person is pregnant. And that person is always female, which seems to be an unnecessary statement until you read how Paul describes himself to the Galatians:
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you… (4:19)
He is telling the Galatians that he has labored for them as a woman for a child. Not only once—when he shared the Gospel with them the first time—but twice, as he anxiously awaits their rejection of false teachers.
And then he tells the Galatians that he will not labor as though in birth only twice, but continuously until Christ is formed in them.
Essentially Paul says, “I will labor for you until you are the ones swollen by the fullness of Christ in you.”
It’s a hand-off of the pregnancy baton.
Paul’s heart here is beautifully contrasted with the false teachers. The goal of the false teachers was to create followers of their own in Galatia. They labored for their own gain. But Paul—Paul was laboring with intense emotion until the day the Galatians were once again focused on Christ. Paul would be pained until the full image of Christ showed in the Galatians like a baby shows in a pregnant woman.
Do you love anyone so deeply that their mistaken view of God pains you to the point of birthing pains?
Father, Paul loved with Your heart and saw people as You saw them. As a result, he was in agony when Your children missed the opportunity to have Christ form fully within them. I ask today that I may feel that same degree of pain. And Lord, I turn this over to You and ask that You would labor intensely through me for the salvation of those around me. Amen.