Forgetting the Pain
Those who read through the Torah each year are now listening to the soulful cries of the Israelites. Jacob’s enslaved descendants suffered beneath the stinging whips of Egyptian taskmasters. Their agony was heard all the way to heaven.
The Almighty was preparing them for redemption from exile. Exile is an act which alludes to childbirth. Mitzrayim, the Hebrew word for Egypt, actually means a tight constriction. Through the narrowing birth canal of Egypt, the Almighty delivered Israel. Childbirth is a powerful and expressive word. It refers to both great distress and abounding joy.
In the process of childbirth, a woman is seized with affliction. But, soon after, affliction is only a vague memory. Delight takes its place. The troublesome day when the baby was born is now a day of celebration. Joy and nachas (a yiddish word for happy and proud) outweigh the recollection of a difficult childbirth. This is the image of exile and redemption. In the Torah, a period of exile is often compared to a woman about to give birth. As the moment of birth approaches, the pains are more frequent, and difficult to bear. But, redemption is approaching.
Today is a day of exile. Due to the evil and misery so prevalent on the earth, the world is undergoing the contractions which will bring the Messiah. “For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now – and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption – the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23).
A distressing birth is difficult, but only temporary. One day soon, Yeshua will return and pain will be forgotten. Until then, affliction becomes bearable with prayers that declare the thrill of approaching blessings.
Published January 11, 2018