David Zuccolotto on Why be Born Again If You Will Only Suffer Grief and Trials?

The first time I saw someone strapped to a bed in a psychiatric hospital it was a terrifying sight. I have vivid images of it even though it was almost 35 years ago.

As a psychologist, I’ve seen the depths of human suffering and pain. In the past year I’ve treated a handful of women who suffered from postpartum psychosis.

The violent surge of hormones that create contractions and give birth, also affect the brain and neurotransmitters. In some cases it causes a psychotic break with symptoms of mania, hallucinations, delusions and profound depression. It takes the normal and painful experience of childbirth to another level of pain and suffering.

I find it curious that Jesus talks about salvation as “a new birth.“ We usually associate birth with joy and a new life, forgetting about the pain and suffering. But sometimes life (like postpartum psychosis) is an overwhelming experience of pain and suffering.

Dr. David Zuccolotto is a former pastor and clinical psychologist. | Courtesy of David Zuccolotto

How does pain and suffering fit into the picture of the Christian “new birth”?

When the apostle Peter was imprisoned in Rome he wrote: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

The “new birth” in Christ is a living hope. An inexpressible joy. But then Peter shifts from the joy of a new birth to suffering and persecution: “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:6)

It almost seems a contradiction. A new birth granted by the love of Christ, only to be born into a world of pain, suffering and persecution.

Why the conflict? Peter gives the answer:

“These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” ( 1 Peter 1:7)

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SOURCE: Christian Post, David Zuccolotto