Happiness and Pain

Childbirth, I have heard and read, is one of the most painful if not the most painful experience a woman can go through. Nothing a man endures can ever approximate it. I remember stories from friend-doctors in Fabella Memorial Hospital, the largest government obstetrics hospital in the Philippines. They encounter all sorts of women whom the pain almost drive crazy, shouting out prayers or hurling invectives or just plainly crying out in pain. There are women in labor who would curse their husbands for getting them pregnant (again) or who would shout out never again. And yet, they end again showing up at the hospital in another year or so.

I have never experienced the pain of childbirth. I will never experience the intense happiness a mother feels on seeing her new-born baby. But I can understand how such intense happiness comes after such excruciating pain. Life is difficult and painful. But there is no pain that does not have its corresponding moments of happiness and joy. Pain is not the cause of appiness. Nor is it necessary to undergo pain to experience happiness. But there is supreme genius in the fact and the reality that pain and happiness often go together.

God, in His infinite wisdom and awesomeness, has created us to live in eternity with Him in joy and happiness. But between where and who we are now and what we will eventually become is a long process of transformation. A raw diamond has to undergo a lot of cutting and chiseling before it becomes a desirable precious stone. Raw ore of gold has to be melted under intense fire and then refined with intense heat before it becomes the glittering gold that people desire. So tested by pressure and forged in adversity, we become the precious persons we have been created by God.

The LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.”
John 16:20-23

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