Groaning now, Glory later
The groaning of this present world are but cries for a glorious new world.
'We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.'
Romans 8v22-25 (NIV)
The maternity ward is a place where we see groaning and glory. Before the glory of holding a tiny new baby comes the groaning of giving birth. But it's a pain full of hope, because you know that at the end you will hold new life in your arms. In the same way, the groaning in this world is like birth pains: 'the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.' It's all signs of a new and perfect world to come. This promise of a new world is not yet: 'Who hopes for what they already have?' We hope for something more. But this is more than wishful thinking. 'Hope' in the bible is something promised and guaranteed. So, 'we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.'
First living in this world will mean groaning. 'Creation has been groaning' and our bodies 'groan inwardly'. Every earth quake, storm and pandemic we experience are the natural cries of living in a broken and disordered world. It is the effect of humanity turning against God. We long for it to end, we long for something better.
Second trusting in Christ will mean glory. Those who trust in Christ have been given 'the first fruits of the Spirit'. The Spirit is like a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. Yes we have been adopted into God's family, yes we have been redeemed but the experience is only partial. Each aching cry, each shout of pain is a groan of anticipation for the day when we will enter into the fullness of our 'adoption' and 'redemption.'
Our cries of pain are not empty and hopeless, they are cries of expectation for the glory that is to come.
Thank you Father God that you have promised all who trust in your Son, to end the groaning and to bring us into your glory. Thank you that because of Jesus' death and resurrection for us we have a sure and certain hope. Please help us by your Spirit to wait patiently and to trust your promise.