“In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
A friend reminded me of these beautiful words when I confessed to her some fears about my newly discovered pregnancy. Even as I write, these fears flutter up. The little life inside me is the size of a kidney bean, so tender, so fragile, so vulnerable. Will s/he survive? What if I eat something wrong? What if I breathe in too many noxious fumes? There are so many factors outside of my control!
These fears that spring up right at the start of life follow us through our entire earthly existence. What shall we eat, drink, wear? What if we make a wrong decision? How can we minimize our risks and reduce the impact of all those unknown outside variables? We are in a constant state of unease about this breathtaking yet fleeting thing called life.
As I pondered Paul’s words to the people of Athens, “In him we live and move and have our being,” it struck me that just as a newly formed life is knit together and held firmly by God in the mother’s womb, so we, as fragile creatures on a brief and exhilarating sojourn through planet Earth, are being formed in the womb of God until we are one day delivered into the broad daylight of everlasting union with our Creator.
As babes yet unborn into the full likeness of God, we now endure a dark and often grueling process of being knit together, according to a mysterious design, into a reflection of the Son. In the darkness of the womb, we hear his voice, but one day, we will see his face. We hear inchoate murmurs of the world beyond, so vast that our little hearts cannot take it in. We incubate in a twilight of semi-conscious spiritual awareness, seeing through a veil darkly, until one day the veil is torn, and we behold the Son in all his glory.
One day we will use to full capacity these lungs, feet, hands, mouths, hearts, that for now seem limited in their range and power. One day we will open our mouths and the fresh air of God’s kingdom will flood our lungs. One day we will run with abandon into the arms of the One who is both father and mother, lover and Spouse.
For now, all creation groans in the pains of childbirth, waiting with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed (Romans 8). For now, we rest in the womb of God. We await the day when we will be delivered from our fears into a perfect everlasting love, one that has enfolded us since before our life began.