Labor Pains

Pregnant with Expectation

A poem, a prayer and a passage for Christmas Eve:
The pinnacle of Advent expectation and longing

‘I will make you a great nation
Endowed with power to bless and curse
Through your seed, your only son
I’ll bless the families of the earth
I’ve passed between the severed parts
Of goats and rams, mingled with pigeon’s blood
If you or I break ever this covenant
Let me alone be like these doves’

But you came through
In unexpected ways

I offered to build you a house
And you laughed in my face
‘I shall build myself a house
When you have finish out your days
Through your offspring’s hand
I’ll remind them I am mighty to save’
But now my throne is disestablished
And my blood cries from the grave

I see my people become slaves

It was by the rivers of Babylon
We hung our harps and wept
They taunted us while chiding
‘Play us Zion’s song and project’
We asked you for vengeance
We asked that you dash their infants’ heads
‘One day all nations will beat their swords in Zion’
You gave us a prophet’s song of peace instead

Where are you
Where are these promised days?

Rome had taken over, some were Zealots
Others perhaps had long forgot about
The promise of a shoot from Jesse
And all nations streaming to your house
The house of the God of Jacob
The house built on the temple rock
The day we’d be emancipated
A vindicated people, a vindicated God

You came
In the most scandalous of ways

About the day or hour, you said,
‘Not one angel in Heaven knows
But some here will not taste death
Before I return from where I go’
We believed you! Maybe we still do?
Apparently Paul did too
‘In the twinkling of an eye
those left standing will join them too’

The kind that covers fear
All creation lies in anguish
Just wishing you were here


Gracious one, we believe! Only help our unbelief. We want so desperately to trust. But some days we feel quite unsure of what that looks like, what that means!?! Help us God of light and flesh. God who makes saints of feeble hands, faint hearts and jokers like us – it is to you alone we pray. Help us wait again for your coming: new like your mercies each morning, perhaps different than we expected or even dared to hope. But let the eyes and ears of our hearts be ever open. Stoke the fires in our lamps again, even though we’ve been foolish enough to use up all the oil. We beg your mercy. We beg your coming this night. Your coming every night. Until your trumpet sounds. Whatever that means or brings we have only but clues. But the Spirit and the Bride say come Lord Jesus. In your name we pray. As my mother would always say, ‘Amen. Amen. And Amen!’


For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:19-27).


9 thoughts on “Labor Pains

  1. It’s so enjoyable when pastors, who are wordsmiths anyway, turn their talents to the poetic. Lovely writing, Wayne, and the lead photo is also compelling – wonderful to have the female form celebrated visually in a non-sexual manner. Thank you and Happy Christmas!

    1. A very happy Christmas to you as well Adriene! Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I receive them like much unexpected but cherished Christmas gift. I have struggled a lot with writer’s block and self doubt lately as the search process drags further on. It is good to be reminded of who I am and who I belong to.

  2. The prayer only a Psalmist can compose. The prayer of a Christian, the worthy sacrifice of a broken spirit. This is the heart of authentic spirituality.

  3. Beautiful poetry, I like it when people mix pieces of scripture together.

    And that’s the sexiest picture of the earth I have ever seen.

  4. I was going to say what Tim said. It reminded me so much of one of the historical psalms. Gorgeous, and thank you!

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