Creation’s Labor Pains
Lord, use us as mid-wives. Your creation groans as if in labor and looks for solutions.
Read Romans 8:18–39
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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Carry the pain of the world to the heart of God in prayer. May the world find its true healing in Christ.
What is the Father’s family business? What is our inheritance in Christ? It is the restoration of the whole creation (19–23). The church is the hope of creation. The created order needs the “freedom and glory of the children of God” (21). Creation longs for what the children of God already have. The church is a sign of hope—but hope involves suffering before the full glory of a healed creation can be achieved.
The suffering is expressed in the word “groan” (22,23,26). The creation groans because of its decay and futility. If it could speak it would say, “It’s not meant to be like this!” However, the church is part of creation, part of its present condition and of its future in Christ. Because our bodies are not yet redeemed we can identify with the frustrated cry of creation, but we are bearers of hope. We know that one day God’s creation will not be like this. The pain creation experiences is more than we can bear, but the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers and responds, “with groans too deep for words” (26, ISV). This responsive Spirit dwells not far away in heaven but in members of the church. The church lives in the midst of a broken creation as a sign and communicator of hope. Our privilege as Christ’s fellow heirs is to turn the groaning of creation into the labor pains of the new creation.
In the light of this vocation, Paul assures us that God is at work to make us like Christ, that God will provide what we need, that he will protect us and that nothing can separate us from the love of God (39). We are to give ourselves to a broken world assured that we are secure in the love of God.
Churches are not private clubs for their members, nor refuges from a hurting world. They are communities where the love of God meets a needy world with hope. How does your church address the needs of the world?
Lord, You have entrusted us with the assignment of offering hope to a bruised and confused world. Help us to shine ever so brightly as ambassadors of You, its creator.
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