6:21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.

22 So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

 23 On that day you will ask nothing of me.  Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

 25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

The birth pangs analogy extends beyond the approaching suffering of the painful road to the cross Jesus is about to walk. There is a sense in which we all live our entire lives in the painful and difficult process of bringing to birth something that has not yet fully come into being.

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the terrible turmoil and chaos that sounds like a familiar description of so much of history. He says,

you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places

This is where we live. In all of human history, there has always been “wars and rumours of wars”; there has never been a time when, at some place in the world there has not been conflict, suffering and tragedy. But then Jesus concludes this troubling vision saying,

all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs. (Matthew 24:6-8)

We live in the in-between time, in the uneasy reality of what is and the promise of what is coming into being. The challenge in the midst of chaos is to remain conscious of the beauty and truth at the heart of life. This is the land of faith, the place of trust in the ultimate power of goodness and love that was revealed in the person of Jesus. This is the place where

if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you,

because here in the in-between place we know that the only thing for which our hearts truly long and for which we will be moved to ask, is the awareness that,

the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

In the midst of chaos, suffering, and confusion what helps me be aware of the deeper reality of love and truth that Jesus embodied?

What new life is coming to birth in the midst of the turmoil of this moment?