“It takes wisdom to understand this paradox: you must be present to your own rebirth and consent to its happening in every moment, but the work of the soul is to stand down in the presence of God, to trust what is happening even though you are worried about the outcome and want nothing more than to jump in and control everything.” —David Robert Anderson
I had my ideas about how my heart would be transformed. I thought I would sit at home in the privacy of my office reading books about spiritual growth. I envisioned that I would process my past while meditating prayerfully on new spiritual insights, and the Spirit of God would gently massage the truth deeply into my soul. And quietly, steadily, comfortably, I would emerge from my inner room renewed in my inner man.
Instead, it’s been like giving birth. Now, I’ve never delivered a baby, but I’ve gone full term with a kidney stone. Bob, the Physician’s Assistant, accurately described the physical pain I endured. “At first you’re afraid you’re going to die; and then you’re afraid you won’t.”
I can tell you, there are agonizing parallels in my spiritual experience.
Only by dying can we be reborn. But the dying part is what’s so scary and so terribly uncomfortable. When we’re in the delivery room, we’re terrified and in deep pain. Our eyes are darting around. We desperately want to do something. Maybe we should call for a general anesthetic and tell them to wake us when it’s over.
We thought we would be, if not in control, at least, under control. But the Spirit of God is the one governing the entire process. And often, those in the delivery room with us, those who are attending to us, are more aware of what’s happening and more active in their participation with God than we are. Those around us seem to carry out their delivery room duties efficiently while we stand there feeling confused and afraid.
So what is our role in the delivery room?
We remain present with God. We witness what He is accomplishing in us. We stop resisting the Spirit. We quit fighting God for control. We yield. We surrender. We submit to dying.
And by the Spirit’s supernatural working, we experience rebirth.