What are the struggles of a mother when the world comes to an end? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yes. That opening statement is a bit tongue in cheek. I do not think that this passage is at all about the end of the world, but some do. Today, we are looking at verse 19 and the focus is entirely on women. (Though keep in mind, Jesus is supposedly a misogynist so many times and never cares about women so this verse must be an anomaly or something.)
So what does verse 19 say?
“And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!”
Pregnancy today is much easier than it was back then. If a woman gets pregnant today, she assumes generally all things being equal that she’s going to give birth and have a normal pregnancy. I do realize some women have miscarriages today and tragedies like that happen, but very few times is a woman scared that when she goes to the delivery room, she won’t come out alive.
Instead, a woman typically has a plethora of doctors around here. Even if she can’t make it to the hospital, there’s usually good care and good medication available that she can use. Pregnancy is still difficult and can still be very painful, but it is nowhere near the health risk it used to be.
Same with raising infants today. Mothers have every good in the world. They have cars to drive and car seats for babies. They have strollers and now even things you can use to carry your baby on your chest with you so your hands are free. There are bottles of formula and everything else a baby needs.
Not so in the ancient world.
In that world, you could die quite often in childbirth. It was a risk. You didn’t have the special items we have today for taking care of a child once they were born. You would have to nurse them the old-fashioned way every time.
So now imagine a woman having to flee Jerusalem who is pregnant. She has no pain killers like we have today and has to go and walk several miles a day, maybe ride an animal if she’s lucky which will have its own hurdles for her.
Imagine going on a trip like this then either pregnant or dealing with an infant who will be crying and waking you up in the middle of the night every time you try to stop and sleep. Will that help you on your journey or hinder you? I am not at all saying that a mother shouldn’t love her children that way, but love can be hard sometimes even for children. The mother will not leave her child behind, but the child will be hard to have on the trip.
Again, all of this makes sense in the first century. Today, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Back in that day, it would be extremely difficult. Again, we have to ask which scenario makes the most sense of this? If you read this in a futuristic way, it’s hard to make sense of it. Read it as if it’s happening in the ancient world and it fits perfectly.
We’ll continue next time.