This is an "instant replay" of a devotion that ran on Encouragement Cafe last year. If you haven't joined the Encouragement Cafe community, click over and find encouragement on Facebook, their daily devotions or their Friday radio show.
My heart rejoices in the LORD…for I delight in your deliverance.
1 Samuel 2:1
(Hannah’s prayer of praise after God granted her long-desired baby)
The baby growing inside was a blessed surprise. My first, I talked to her at length before she was born. I narrated my happenings like the elevator music no one listens to. Perhaps this is why she was hesitant to leave the safety of the womb – she was afraid I’d talk her into insanity.
Her due date of January 10th came and went. By January 15th we were bursting at the seams. My discomfort culminated in a piercing pain in my right kidney. My old school doctor thought nothing of it. Five days and nights of extraordinary pain would follow, robbing me of sleep and nutrition.
The intermittent contractions were a relief from this constant agony. After twelve hours they settled into a steady rhythm and I arrived at the hospital ready to rid myself of both sources of pain. Once admitted, I was wired like the experiment of a mad scientist.
The machine’s readings were not what they should be for my baby. A neonatologist was called in. My discomfort became the least of my worries.
When my “water” broke, it could best be described as sludge. My overcooked daughter had defecated multiple times in utero. Now her respiratory and digestive well-being was threatened.
I pushed for three hours straight. Worry lined every contraction. In the end, she came out entirely in one power-packed push.
My breath caught in my throat. I could not celebrate for concern. Would my baby live? Would she be “normal”? The neonatologist whisked her away. I followed him like a hawk as I lay incapacitated and terrified for my child.
She passed every test with flying colors. As praise filled my heart and tears flooded my weary eyes, I saw him hold her close to his cheek. My highly skilled and trained neonatologist sang “Happy Birthday” to a baby named Hannah.
Your Labor Day pains may take another form. Are you worried about bills that strong arm your budget? Are you discomforted by a loved one who doesn't seem to return your love? Are you pained with concern about your children?
God is at work even when it doesn't seem or feel like it. He labors for us. In our moments of greatest pain, do we praise the God who is beyond our suffering?