Whenever GOD sets Himself for increase, for enlargement, to get something more than that which He has already got, it seems that He plunges things anew into travail.
Every spring-time, for instance, is to see nature enlarged, growing beyond what it was before, and in its increase there is a new travail.
Perhaps you will think me unduly fanciful, but you can almost hear the trees travailing at certain times as you walk in the woods.
Probably if our ears were more attuned to that realm...and there are sounds, real sounds, to which our ears are not attuned-we should hear the groaning of the creation.
Paul says this: “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth…” (Rom. 8:22). Why? It is pent up, it is held back, it is under arrest; it is groaning for its expansion, its enlargement, its liberation.
That is a law in spiritual things. Every fresh measure of Christ, every bit of spiritual increase, is fraught with a fresh baptism into His passion.
We should recognize that, because so often we do not understand why it is that, when we ask for spiritual increase and enlargement, we immediately are plunged into a bad time.
The increase comes that way, does it not? Some of us have learnt that so well that, if we say these things to the LORD, it is so to speak with our tongue in our cheek!
We are very, very careful what we say to the LORD.
We have learned that the way of enlargement is at cost, through fresh travail, and we cannot get away from it.
Yes, there are successive baptisms into the passion of Christ. The law of His universality is the law of His passion. “I came to cast fire upon the earth… But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:49,50).
By the travail of His soul, the passion of His Cross, the straitening was removed, the fire was scattered, and the enlargement took place.
But that is equally true of the church as of Himself. The church has never expanded and been released without some convulsion. That is a matter of history.
~T. Austin Sparks~