“My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” These are the words of Paul from Galatians 4:19. We learn that evangelism and discipleship is likened to multiple births filled with the pains that come along with giving birth. This is a vivid metaphor for thinking about what labor and anguish accompanies any and all ministry. In this world there is no new life, no birth that is unaccompanied by pain. Pain and anguish are the telltale signs of new life. This is equally true on another level according to Paul. Anguish must always accompany the second birth. Anguish will be present in the varying stages of discipleship and training. But this anguish is no joyless pain that one unwillingly puts themselves through. This is the anguish and pain of a mother. A mother who would go through the pain again if necessary to bring this life into the world. There is a joyfulness that accompanies the pain. Anguish is no sign of failure or defeat. It is no encouragement to turn and walk away but it is rather that which must always precede and accompany all God’s good work in the lives of the people we serve. The cross always precedes the resurrection. Always.