The typical Jewish mother of contemporary folk humor wants her son to grow up to be a doctor. In the case of my mother, this idea was not a joke. She really wanted me to go into medicine because she always felt that I had the warm personality it takes to treat the sick. I remember my relatives, many of whom were blatant hypochondriacs, telling me they were waiting for me to graduate from medical school so I could treat their numerous ailments. They never asked me how I felt about the course of life they were assigning me. They simply went along with my mother’s idea.
I figured that since my fate was sealed, I should at least be in a field of medicine that interested me, and that was obstetrics. As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the birth process. I have always been amazed at the skill of the doctors who lead a woman through the difficult months of pregnancy toward labor. I, too, was going to deliver babies.
Unfortunately, in college I could not cope with my biology classes, so I gratefully switched majors. I studied astronomy. Then I became a believer, and God called me to the Jewish mission field. As I reflect now on my duties as a missionary with Jews for Jesus, I see my role as a deliverer of babies” being fulfilled in many ways. I like to consider myself a kind of spiritual “midwife.”
I see this aspect of my work quite vividly as I recall my experiences with a man named Rob. Just a couple of months after I started teaching a Bible study for Jewish believers in a northern suburb of Los Angeles, Rob’s wife called our office. She and her husband lived in the neighborhood of that new meeting. He had never been “religious,” but was now searching for the truth. Knowing that this was more than a coincidence, I invited both Rob and his wife to that monthly meeting. They came. Then Rob and I began to meet to talk about the Lord. I could sense his struggle with sin and his inability to find peace with God. As the months passed, I felt ill-equipped to meet Rob’s needs because the Lord was, indeed, the only one able to help him. Finally I sensed that Rob was ready to ask Yeshua into his life. We sat in the front seat of my little pickup truck one day, and I led him through a simple prayer of faith and commitment. It was difficult—painful, to be honest. Yet when we had finished, it felt like a new day, and I knew the entire heavenly host was celebrating.
Looking back on that time with Rob, I can see how the rebirth process began slowly and grew within him. I led him along during those early months, making sure to keep in touch with him, thinking and praying about his situation often. When the time came for his new birth, I certainly was the nervous one! Yet the Lord used me to bring that spiritual birth to its completion.
As the physical birth process is shrouded in mystery, the second birth is a mystery as well. How God can make each of us unique and loved is beyond me. Even more, how God instills in each believer the knowledge of the Messiah and his sacrifice of love is beyond my understanding. I know that without the Holy Spirit this would not be possible. In Matthew 16 we read of Peter’s confession that Yeshua is the Messiah. Having lived with Jesus for some time, even having seen the miracles he performed, Peter still could not have known who he was unless Heaven had revealed it to him (Matthew 16:16-17).
Yes, birth—physical and spiritual—is an amazing process. I am grateful that the Lord has given me, in my role as a missionary, the opportunity to function as a “spiritual obstetrician.” It happens as I make myself available to those who are ready to bring forth what God has implanted in their hearts concerning him. Although it is not exactly what my Jewish mother had in mind when she wanted me to become a doctor, it is what my heavenly Father has ordained, and I thank him for that.
Editor’s Note: Since this report was written, Andrew Barron has been transferred to our Boston branch, where he continues to practice “spiritual obstetrics.”