Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. John 3:1-11 (NIV)
I am a great aunt. My husband’s niece had a baby girl today. She went into labor about 3:00 this morning and by 11:00 had her baby. Her labor was so swift that though the anesthesiologist was called, there was no time for an epidural. She is a mixture of mad that the doctor did not get there in time and proud that she made it through with no drugs. In the end, a safe delivery and healthy baby are what counts, and she is precious with a full head of hair. What is it about a birth that makes all women recall the day of their own child’s arrival? I clearly remember the birth of our oldest son. We went to the doctor’s office when he was six days overdue with mild contractions. During the exam, my water broke. The midwife said, ”Well, today you are going to have a baby!” My dad got to the hospital almost before we did. I recall nothing happening for almost twelve hours and the clinch of fear when they told me that I needed to have a Cesarean Section. I remember how protective Glen was, and finally, the sound of my baby’s first cry. I was so groggy from all the pain medicines that I barely remember anything for the next few days, but I know my husband hardly left my side, holding me when the medicines made me sick and taking care of our son for the first few days of his life. I lost a few days in my memory, but I remember every moment of the day that he was born and the day that we brought him home. My second experience, though a planned C-Section was better. We knew what to expect, to refuse the strong pain medicines, and to ask for all the help that we could get. And as an already established mom, I felt more confident and secure in my ability to care for a new baby. Since those days, more time has passed than I care to admit. My boys are almost grown. But, the seeing a newborn baby brings it all back like it was yesterday. And I love talking to other moms and comparing delivery stories. I have also experienced a birth, a spiritual birth. While it was also long ago, I remember it with clarity as well as the impact it made on my life. I remember the journey of faith that began as a young child, the times I strayed from the right path as a young adult, the struggle that brought me home again. That testimony is one that I don’t recount as often as I should, but one that is even more important than the births of my sons. Because when I share that story, there is a possibility that lives could be saved, hearts could be changed and people born again. I need to tell it more often to all who will listen until they finally understand.