“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Romans 8:22)
2020 might be remembered as the year of the groan. Every time we turn on the TV or check our phones, there’s another reason to groan.
Ealier this year, wildfires torched large areas of Australia. More recently, tornadoes destroyed homes and lives in Tennessee. On the other side of the world, locusts have swarmed to biblical proportions in parts of Kenya. Creation is groaning.
On January 26, the world was shocked to read news about Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and several others dying in a helicopter crash. Just a few weeks earlier, the world was shocked to hear about a Ukranian jet liner being shot out of the sky by the Iranian military. Creation is groaning.
The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the world. Regardless of what you think about the virus itself, the results are undeniable. More than 100,000 dead. Tens of millions unemployed. Virtually everyone has experienced the isolation and loneliness of quarantine. Creation is groaning.
Most recently a number of unnecessary, tragic deaths have made national news. Americans now know the names of Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. We long for a more united country, and we grieve with those who are grieving. Creation is groaning.
Some refuse to let a crisis pass without seizing an opportunity to advance their own radical agenda. The riots, the looting, the burning, the violence of the last week is horrific and senseless. Creation is groaning.
In the United States, most of these tragedies are only made worse by politicians who are quick to use every situation to advance their own political career at the expense of our country. Creation is groaning.
Closer to home (Odessa, Texas) … It wasn’t that long ago that our community was reeling from a mass shooting that left 8 dead and 25 injured. Those who have lived through such incidents know that words hardly describe the horror of August 31 … fear, shock, disbelief, confusion. Creation is groaning.
Even closer to home (Immanuel Baptist Church) … My church said its final goodbye to one of our own last week. A 13 year old in our youth group lost his fight against cancer over the weekend. He is home with the Lord, but those who went by his house to say goodbye felt the weight of sickness and death. Creation is groaning.
Paul’s point in Romans 8:22 is obviously true. Anyone with eyes and ears can see it and hear it all around us. Creation is groaning. Believers know this is true. We feel the weight of living in a fallen, broken, divided, hate-filled world. We also know hope. That’s the point of the verses that surround Romans 8:22, hope.
“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 firstfruits 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.” (Romans 8:18-25)
I needed this today. Thank you❤️
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Let us pray: Holy and loving God, give us the conviction of things we cannot see and the
assurance of the places you call us to that we do not yet know. Amen.
The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen … This is faith, according
to the author of Hebrews. Faith involves trust and tenacity, but it is not simply the case of
“believing it makes it so.” Faith is forward looking, oriented toward the future, trusting that
God will keep promises. In other words, faith and hope are one, and life is a pilgrimage.
Abraham and Sarah didn’t know where they were going, yet they set out on a journey.
Sometimes we forget about the element of risk involved in having faith—by doing this, sadly,
we take the life out of our faith. When our religion becomes something we take for granted,
when it becomes too predictable, or when it becomes something of which we are so sure; then
we have lost our understanding of what it means to have faith.
The very nature of faith consists of an element of uncertainty with a willingness to participate
whole-heartedly on a journey to places that are unfamiliar.
Blythe Denham Kieffer, D.Min.
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Excerpt from Sermon “Hope in the Unseen”
The element of risk, to me, is the willingness to participate in ongoing sanctification….practicing the disciplines, waiting for God to change us. We become more like Him and in that endeavor, we ultimately becone closer to Him.
Excellently explained. Thank you for keeping us on the right focus.