Travail Never Ends

by Joanna Pierce on April 18, 2018

It was another typical night in our college Biology class. We were learning about something science-related (clearly, I’ve blocked this life-changing experience from my mind). And, over the course of the lesson, our teacher thought it was a good idea to show a birthing video.

Now, I had the general idea of how childbirth worked, but five seconds into the video, all the blood drained from my face and my head started to spin. As I turned to my right, my eyes locked with a gentleman sitting down the lab table from me—and he looked exactly as I did.

We decided childbirth was a horrifying miracle. And, being the only two people in the class that felt (and looked) this way, we became kindred spirits. That man is now my husband: we bonded over blood, pushing, and violent screaming.

Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 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 (Isaiah 66:7–8, KJV).

Childbirth is long and painful. You can’t see a child birthed without travail. This is true for natural births, and the same for spiritual births: the prophet Isaiah notes there must be travail in Zion to birth souls.

Part of the miracle of childbirth is that after the pain, life emerges. A new soul enters the world. The mother ceases from travail and rests. But, here is where the natural birth process differs from the spiritual birthing process.

Travail never ends in the church. This is hard to comprehend because we know in natural births—when the baby is born—there is no longer a need for the mother to travail. But, Zion (the church) never stops travailing.

We’re all called to be disciple-makers and to win souls for the Lord. This all takes work, countless hours of time and devotion, and we’ll pour our blood, sweat, and tears into a new child of God. We’ll travail over them in prayer, interceding for them before the throne of God. After we’ve worked, and God gives life, a new soul is born into His Kingdom.

But, our travail isn’t over. Travail doesn’t cease, but changes immediately to another new baby. There’s another soul we must travail over. There’s another soul we must be in anguish over. We must travail until another new child is born, and we continue on, over and over again.

It isn’t just my job to travail. And, it’s not just your job to travail. We’re called to travail together in Zion. As I travail to birth souls for the Kingdom, I may need a brief rest to regroup and return to my labor. It’s in these moments fellow-laborers in the Kingdom take turns, helping me push. They’re travailing not only over my child, but over their own children as well. And, when I have some extra strength to give, I’m going to help my brothers and sister travail over their children too.

Childbirth isn’t easy. It is painful. But, it’s a miracle. In the end, we can take joy knowing there’s another soul going to make it to glory. All of heaven rejoices with us. But, remember the harvest is plenty, the laborers are few. God is calling for His people to travail in Zion to birth a few more souls in our last moments before He returns for His church.

It’s not time to rest just yet. It’s time to push. It’s time to work. It’s time to travail.