Romans 8:18-26 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
This is really quite a picture, isn't it—this little glimpse the Bible gives us into the present state of the created world and its "bondage to corruption"? The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. In Christ deliverance is on the way. Sure, there are hardships now along with sadness and sorrows—plenty of them. But these very sufferings, in Christ, have become heralds of joy just around the corner: they point to the redemption of our poor bodies in God's glorious resurrection, like the resurrection of the Son of God who gave Himself for the life of the world.
I know things are very difficult right now for many of you. St. Paul knew this was often the case for us, too. That's why he compared our human experience to a mother in the agonizing pains of childbirth. Though the delivery is an ordeal, who cares about the pain once the child has been born? Jesus holds for us all the promise of delivery—of more than delivery!—of an eternal future where all our struggles will end, all our heartaches will be calmed, and all our tears will be wiped away (see Revelation 21:1-4).
The waiting for the Son of God's return holds triumph for all who trust Him as their Lord and Savior. With faith in Christ, you have the God-given victory that overcomes the world—and all that is ugly and foul within it. Hang on to Jesus, my dear friend. In Him and Him alone is true life—both now and forever. Though God's work in the world may be hard to understand sometimes, we rejoice and celebrate as we look forward to all that He has in store for us.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, lead us to the solid ground of faith's assurance that we may have all joy and peace in believing, and may abound in hope for today. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From "God Made You to Laugh," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Does life overwhelm you sometimes? What do you do to get through these times?
2. How is it that creation itself is groaning in childbirth pains? Can you think of examples of how this might be?
3. How have you helped someone lately in a way that's out of the ordinary for you?
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