There continue to be daily reminders of the vanity of this world. Last month a dear friend buried her dad. He was a wonderful man, a Godly man, a family man, a man of great character. It was the finest funeral I’ve ever attended. Now, one month later, this same friend is burying her mother. It was sudden, unexpected – with the exception of knowing that for over 60 years they had been partnered in this adventure of life. She knew he was gone. Death had separated them - Death, the final, soon to be vanquished, enemy.
Why do I seem to see the effects of sin and death everywhere I look? Why is this pain so prevalent? Am I missing something or is this real?
I share some thoughts from the Word.
________________________________________Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Clearly Paul is fixing his eyes on something beyond the present. His telling makes it apparent that we don’t represent the fullness of glory at the moment
. (shocker, eh?) He is telling of a time when something even greater will be seen in us
, the sons of God. And all of creation is longing for that revelation
. Why?20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Creation itself knows this vanity that I sense. It is everywhere visible. The beauty of nature suffers corruption. Death visits, decay sets in, time erodes, and sin stains nature itself. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
I should not wonder at the pain I feel. It is real and to be expected. The sorrow of time passing - of death separating, of aging and changing - is not to be avoided. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Even the sons of God, endowed with promise and the Spirit, are not exempt from this groaning and longing. We above all, as children who count the days until that hoped for occasion arrives, should ache for His return. This world should never hold our affections. We have a wonderful hope to declare because most assuredly it will be seen (and is seen, for those who are willing to see) that this world is passing away. It is corrupt. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
It is true – corruption is everywhere present. But He is the answer. He is always the answer, the hope, the cure. And we are His, and all He has belongs to us, if we call on His name. The hope promised is ours!
There will be a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells. Did you hear me? In which righteousness dwells. Hooray! Sin will not rule, Satan will be done away with, and He, the great and glorious God of Love, shall reign.
Corruption will come to an end. Decay will cease. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There will be no more pain, for the former things (these present things which we see all around us) will have passed away.
Even as we who believe have obtained liberty from the wages of sin and its power, so shall the creation. Creation itself will enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God!
But for now, we ourselves do groan to be further clothed, that mortality might be swallowed up by life. “Even so, come Lord Jesus, come!”
This is a promise, the Spirit our guarantee. Even when we are at home in the body (absent from the Lord) we can be confident.
Therefore, as always, it is the unseen which we must fasten our eyes upon, hoping, “…eagerly waiting for it with perseverance.”
A modern translation of the above passage:
Romans 8:18 - 25
That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.
Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.
That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.