A certain analogy was brought to my attention as I studied Nicodemus and Jesus’ conversation about being “born again” in John 3. Maybe it’s because I am close to giving birth to my third child, but this idea struck me deep in my soul and gave me a whole new meaning of how I see my Savior.
In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God, we must be born again. Nicodemus wonders aloud, how can that be — do I return to my mother’s womb?
For Nicodemus, as a Pharisee (and as any typical human being), he thinks he has to do this and do that in order to see and enter the kingdom of God — a checklist of 613 items in fact, for the 613 commandments the Pharisees strictly follow at that time.
But being born again does not necessarily work that way. It truly is like being born, of course metaphorically. A helpless, defenseless child needs someone else to do the labor for them in order for him or her to be born. After a mother gives birth, no one congratulates the baby for a job well done. Sure, a child can put him/herself in the right position for the best labor and instinctly shifts his or her body as they come through the birth canal. But it is that mother, in that intensity of surges her body creates, who does the work (speaking of a typical vaginal birth here for the analogy of course).
It is the same in the gospel. Jesus does all the labor for us. His Atonement is the absolute epitome of a labor of perfect love. He suffered through a process He knew would be intense, but oh so worth it, and because it would eventually have an end, He powered through the bitter cup.
What a powerful imagery, especially for me, as I am in the process of preparing to enter that labor of love for my third child. This idea right here is honestly one of the reasons I desire to give birth naturally this time around. I want to grow my connection to both my Heavenly Parents, especially my Heavenly Mother, as well as my relationship with Jesus Christ and my maternal ancestors on the other side of the veil. And in some small minuscule way, I look forward to sharing an experience of a terribly difficult labor of love that I have the privilege to fully feel as a healthy, low-risk daughter of God and mother of another soul.
Because of the Savior’s labor of love, I am born again and am alive with the Spirit of Christ. I am saved and wholly loved. My heart continually changes and turns back to Him as I am lifted up out of the darkness. It enables and encourages me to seek the bonding covenants that will take me back to the presence of God with Him. Thank the Lord that He loved us all that He gave us His Son to labor us into everlasting life.