Journey’s Travail

The past few weeks I thought of these Biblical scriptures with deep thought. And, as thoughts go, one leads to another, and another, going deeper in perception, and sometimes imagination. It seems only fitting that I would write this on Mother’s Day.

“Now  there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother…When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” John 19:25-27

I pictured in my mind one of the most horrific scenes known to mankind: Jesus hanging on a rugged, blood stained cross; his body covered with dirt, sweat, and blood, with open gaping wounds across his beaten back. At the foot of the cross gazing up at this painfully excruciating sight, was Mary, his mother. I tried to imagine the grief this woman must have been experiencing at that time. I am a mother. I understand the emotions that run through a mother’s mind, heart, and spirit when her child is hurting. But I have never experienced Mary’s type of grief. I have never seen my child nailed to a cross left to die.

Then I thought of a mother’s travail. A mother’s travail, is there anything like it? Oh, how Mary must have travailed through her grief and agonizing pain, with feelings of helplessness, only wishing that she could take her son’s place on the cross. Any mother who loves her child never wants to see that child suffer, and would sacrifice herself to be able to remove her child’s suffering.

I then thought of Hannah. Hannah also travailed, yet she was without child. She was barren, and begged and pleaded with God to make her womb fruitful, and bless her with a son. She prayed with such desperation of mind and spirit that she could no longer speak. She emptied herself before God, and with determination, refused to give up until God granted her desire. She prevailed, and was blessed with a son. She became a mother.

Then I thought of Zion. The church. The spiritual mother. “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first-born child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth forth her hands, saying, Woe is me now!” Jer. 4:31.  “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Isa. 66:8

What is travail? Webster’s definition: 1) agony, torment, labor  2) work especially of a painful or laborious nature  3) physical or mental exertion, task, effort

How many ever pray with travail? How many labor in prayer as a woman labors in giving birth to a child? For those of us who have labored in childbirth, we know what this means. The agony and pain accompanied with moaning, and often tears, and extreme physical exhaustion. The anticipation of birthing something miraculous. Have you ever prayed that way?

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in the book of Romans, chapter eight verses 26 and 27:

“Likewise the Spirit (indwelling Spirit of God) also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” The Spirit of God prays through us exactly what His will is. Many things are “birthed” through travail and intercessory prayer. When we pray like this, the miraculous happens. People are healed, broken marriages are mended, families are restored, the chains of drug and alcohol addiction are broken, and people become hungry for God.

Where are the Intercessors? Where are the ones who are willing to labor in the Spirit and allow God to move in miraculous ways? Mother must not be barren! Mother (Zion) must travail and bring forth her children! There is nothing quite like the travail of Mother. It’s the kind of prayer that will bring forth the miraculous!

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