By Jessica Belwood

Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." John 3:5-8

When I was pregnant with my son, we discovered that the due date was November 16th. When there was only days left before the due date, my husband and I did everything we could to safely "encourage" his arrival. My husband threatened to ground Junior if he didn't come on time. I walked miles to try and jumpstart my labor, only to find myself incredibly tired and sore. There wasn't a single sign of possible labor. We could hardly wait for Junior's arrival.

Hardly 30 minutes after the due date had passed and signs of Junior's arrival began. Contractions hit fast and impeccably regular. Fourteen hours later, Junior was born on November 17, 2010 at 2:40pm. It was a life-changing event for our little family.

How I wonder what a spiritual birth is like. How long would the "labor" be required for the birth? Minutes? Days? A lifetime? What would the spiritual birth be like? Would it be uneventful or a joyous celebration?

"... so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." There are many mysterious things about His Spirit, and especially, how people are born again of His Spirit. But the evidence is all around us of transformed lives through spiritual birth.

In our work with teenagers, we'll never be able to anticipate exact timing a spiritual birth of a teenager. No matter what we do to "jumpstart" the labor leading to a spiritual birth, it will come on His timing, not our own. We could do everything we can: drag the teens to church every Sunday, sit for hours listening to the teenager's self-centered conversational topics, fundraise thousands of dollars to send teenagers to camps, and many more actions. Sometimes a teenager will go through DTQ and yet never truly become born again. Perhaps their spiritual birth will happen years, or even decades later. Perhaps it will be tomorrow.

Praise God for allowing us to be alongside teenagers for their spiritual birth; to build Christ-sharing relationships with them. How wonderful it is to celebrate births into His Kingdom. And may we be granted the patience, wisdom and discernment with waiting for the teenagers' to be born again and transformed through His Spirit.

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