Romans 8:22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. (The Message Bible)
Being a male I have never been pregnant but my wife and I have three children so I got to watch the process up close and personally a few times. One of the first things people do when they find out they are having a baby is to establish the due date. Everyone asks “when are you due” and then often calculate how much time is left. Each pregnancy is unique but I haven’t met a woman yet who wasn’t ready for it to be over by the end. No one would want to spend the rest of their life in a state of pregnancy. I have heard people disparage Christianity as “pie in the sky when you die by and by” and I have even felt that way myself from time to time. By this I think people mean that the faith is used to condone all sorts of bad behavior and social injustice because such suffering can find it’s fulfillment in heaven. Point taken. But, if like John Lennon’s song, we imagine there’s no heaven, then we may as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). Heaven shouldn’t be an excuse for evil or selfishness or lack of compassion. But take away heaven, that is, the goal of a future with God, then those terms lose much of their meaning anyway. “Life is suffering” said the Buddha and most of us understand why he said so. But is the suffering senseless pain or is it leading to a destination, to the birth of something new? Seems to me that is the issue. Paul believed the latter. What say you?