This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Here again, as in many of the passages that we have explored this year, we see strong encouragement to look toward That Day and keep it firmly fixed in our minds. Having such confidence in this hope as believers would be the only way that we could say with Paul: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” I mean, after all, who likes to suffer. But the deal is that we all have to experience suffering to some degree or another. That’s life! It is the sure confidence of our hope that enables us to deal with it courageously and profitably. 3 things pop out to me in this passage that seem to be key to developing and then maintaining this sure confidence:
Eager expectation – I can’t wait until December. In fact I am counting down the days. There are exactly, as of this writing, 85 days until I fly to India to see my daughter. I miss her. And even though I talk to her several times a week it is not the same as seeing her and being with her. I have an eager expectation of that day almost 3 months from now. And that is to some degree what my hope is (or at least should be) for seeing the Lord. Even though I talk with Him daily it is not the same as being with Him. For believers there ought to be an eagerness as we await That Day. It will help as we experience those long, lingering days when life on earth is not so great. Something to look forward to always makes the present easier to deal with.
Groaning not grumbling – I’m not one of those people who thinks that you just have to put on a happy face even when life is hard. Because sometimes life is very hard. I am however one of those people who believes that nothing good is gained by grumbling and having a woe is me attitude. There is a huge difference between groaning and grumbling. Groaning recognizes that suffering is a direct result of the Fall. Groaning longs for That Day when all will be made right again. Groaning expresses itself more as righteous anger than as selfish hurt. Groaning is filled with hope for the future rather than bitterness over the past. Be a groaner, not a grumbler.
The Spirit’s help – The Gospel of John refers to the Spirit as the Paraclete – the One who is called alongside us to comfort us and to counsel us – to help us through the dark and sometimes dreary days of life. Jesus did not leave us to fend for ourselves when He returned to Heaven. He left us His very presence in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit does not dwell at the church where we attend; He dwells inside us. We don’t have to shout to get His attention; we need just whisper. He does not begrudge His help; He helps willingly and eagerly anyone who expresses genuine neediness and weakness. And He helps us even when we do not know that He is helping us.
It seems like only yesterday that I was graduating from high school. And yet that was over 35 years ago. That day in all reality was just not that long ago. And That Day, the Day of His appearing, the Day that gives us reason to joyfully hope and persevere through this life – in reality is just not that far away. So, in the meantime, wait eagerly, groan with a passionate longing, and let the Spirit of God help you along the way. It will help you to redeem all the days of your life that are left.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Romans 8:28-39
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Romans 8:28