The reading in Romans today challenged me. I do not often ponder heaven in the every day. When loved ones die, when others come close to death- those are probably the times when I ponder what will come after this life is over.
Mostly, though, in the every day- I do not consider the hope of heaven. There is so much mystery wrapped up in it- and it is something unseen, unimaginable.
To be in God’s presence- to see His Glory.
Honestly, that scares me. To think about being in God’s presence- and seeing His Holiness, feeble creature that I am- and I feel trepidation.
Romans 8:18-28- Paul talks about our hope in heaven- eternal life with God
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children 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 freedom and glory 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 to sonship, 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 they already have? 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 through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
First, verse 18- the glory that will be revealed IN US. Wow, God’s glory revealed in us.
All of creation is in decay (vs19)- the whole world is wasting away- yes, sin- the fall did this. God cursed the ground in Genesis 3. That’s why we have to work so hard to get things to grow.
Imagine what creation will be like when God comes and redeems- makes new- not only us- but all creation.
Creation groans just as we groan to be redeemed and brought into adoption with God.
What does groan mean? A deep inarticulate sound made in pain or despair.
Our suffering in this life causes us to groan and long for redemption. I can relate to that- daily battling the sin and temptation in our own life can sometimes seem overwhelming/exhausting.
Yes, I am groaning- longing for the time when Jesus returns.
We are hoping (vs24-25) for something we have not yet seen or experienced. This verse struck me particularly because of God’s continual call during this season of my life to wait. Wait on Him. Wait patiently.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around how to do that daily. And I struggle with patience. Even with my children- I want them to accomplish things in my time table- when I need it done- and sometimes I expect God to work in my time table too.
In this season, for the first time in my life- I am openly inviting God to teach me patience- teach me to wait. I want to learn- to understand how this transforms my life and perspective.
Verses 26-27 brought such amazing comfort. The Holy Spirit prays on our behalf. Even when we don’t know what to pray or how to pray, God has sent us an intercessor. Someone who knows us completely- who brings us before God.
The Holy Spirit enters into the weight and anguish of our present suffering to pray on our behalf for God’s will to be done. Even in our darkest moments- when we feel completely alone and bent in anguish- the Spirit is there with us, bringing us before the Lord.
God works all things for good- Romans 8:28. This is a verse that we have in our living room at home. I need this reminder often.
There are so many things that happen in this life that we don’t understand. We will never understand. But do we trust, even when we can’t see- that God works all things for good- that He loves us and in our pain He bears it with us?
This whole passage is so important, because you can’t fully understand and appreciate verse 28 without reading verses 26-27. We need the context to see that God is there praying for us, on our behalf, in our anguish, our groaning. He is not far off, looking down-distant.
Do you see Him? He is right there with you, holding you, interceding on your behalf- praying for God’s will in your life- present in you as you experience the weight of suffering and pain in this life.
I pray that we find comfort in these truths from God’s Holy Word today. That in the midst of our daily struggles we will not forget the hope of heaven. Something unseen yet a promise we can cling to- providing hope amidst the suffering of this life.
Two further challenges that were brought up in this message (see link below) that I am still chewing on and wanted to pass on to you.
- The Spirit does not lift for us, He lifts with us. We are not passive in this process. We must endeavor to obey the Spirit’s leading and as we move to obey- God will uphold us and strengthen us- we must engage our will.
- The Spirit’s presence does not take away my weakness. Our weakness reminds us of our need for God- it keeps us humble- reminds us of our position in relation to God.
So I pray that we will continue to nurture a hope for the future- that we will feel God’s presence in our suffering- and remember that this is temporary- our hope is secure in a God who has proven Himself faithful.
***All of these posts on Romans are inspired by the sermons that I am listening to from Lakeland Church. To hear the sermons or download the text, click here.