What are you groaning under today? What is loading you down? What deep pain or fearful anxiety is robbing you of joy?
Within the book of Romans, we find the supreme text for carrying the believer through painful seasons and the harsh realities of living in a fallen world. We’re challenged to consider and compare while we walk through suffering:
[box]“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).[/box]
Paul is speaking of “future glory.” He invites us to lift our eyes above the present suffering and look beyond . . . to consider the reality that lies before us. The future glory has a sweet promise for those of us who belong to God:
[box]“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19)[/box]
This is a striking image in the Greek language: “earnest expectation” literally means a “straining forward as with an outstretched head.” I feel that. I feel that “eager longing”. Don’t you?
I’m anxious and have an earnest longing for that future glory; for the day when the veil is lifted, and His glorious story will be revealed in whole. The Father will welcome His children home.
Imagining future glory reminds me of going home after a long and difficult season. Like returning for a visit to my parents on a dark snowy evening, and stepping into the warmth and comfort of a home alive with light, fireplace glowing, favorite smells coming from the kitchen, my parents holding me close in greeting, and I’m enveloped in the security and peace of that familiar place.
I am longing for that future glory; for that place that my heart already calls home, as this fallen realm grows more unfamiliar each day.
[box]For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:20–23)[/box]
All of creation is groaning. This past week, the groaning turned to a loud roar as precious friends relayed to me their deep sorrow over unexpected loss. No warning. Death took their loved one on a cold January morning without warning.
We suffer from our bondage to the corruption of this fallen realm. But we do not suffer without hope. This corruptible will be swallowed up by incorruption.
[box]“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)[/box]
[box]“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Cor. 5:4)[/box]
Victory swallows up death. Life swallows up mortality. Incorruption swallows up corruption. Corruption, evil, death, destruction, all that we now groan under is swallowed up by this future glory.
Let the reality of the future glory be your safe place today as you navigate the pain of this fallen realm. Worship God with the earnest expectation of what He will soon reveal. Trust your faithful Father to welcome you home soon . . . set your eyes on the eternal, not the temporary.
Image courtesy of Suriya Kankliang/FreeDigitalPhotos.net