"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For 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. We know that the whole creation has been groaning together with the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly, as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8: 18-25
This is the gospel. Can you picture the creation, the streams and rivers, the wind on your cheek, the leaves crinkling to the ground, the snow falling on the tip of your tongue, the beauty of the whole earth….. waiting with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God? Looking ahead to its own future glory and freedom?
And today, in the fall, when the leaves are burning scarlet and I can so easily loose my breath when I take in the smell of fresh earth and feel the tangle of my hair from the wind sweeping past; I know my Creator a little more.
When I see the gospel woven into nature: the creation, the fall, reconcilliation and redemtpion revealed to me in the seasons displayed: I can worship him for his faithfulness to renew. I remember his mercy and faithfulness in every story ever told on the felt board in Sunday school or around my family dinner table.
When I read this passage in Romans, I can rejoice in the glory of the gospel and its work in me. I am moved to remember to ask Jesus to touch every hurt, every longing, every relationship, every circumstance… with the gospel.
A friend recently pointed out that looking at her life in columns sometimes helps her. I am not a columns kind of person. I do however long to make sense of the mess around me, to find order in the piling on of life in my apartment, in my heart, in my city. As we shared about brokeness and pain in some hurting relationships, she said, “What is the gospel response to this? Where is God moving?” Her words sunk deep.
Looking at the ways God moves in the lives of his people, how he has always moved in the lives of his people, in the nation of Israel, in the creation, in our own hearts…it is always consistent with his character.
If you could place the hopes of your heart in columns where would they fit? In the season of creation: the Spring, where everything is new and untarnished? Or the fall where death is near, where darkness seems to weigh upon you with bleakness? Perhaps the gospel is touching you with reconcilliation, with the labor that is felt when you are surrendering, the pricking and cutting that comes from the great surgeon as the wound is being cleansed, before the freedom and healing are fully felt, but with great hope that they are on the horizon. And then there is the redeemed beauty of a season renewed, with new life, fresh fruit… full joy.
It is in the great hope of complete freedom and glory that I write and encourage you. God is in the midst of your suffering, of the season of your circumstances, of your relationships, of your children’s lives and their development and education. The gospel shines upon each one with the great hope of future glory! I am remembering who I am today as I read what Paul has to say just before this passage beginning in verse 16:
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
I am thinking of whose I am and finding great hope, remembering in that hope that he also said,“He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”(Ps. 91:4) I am so thankful to be wooed into such great hope today, so thankful that I can be swept up into the feathers of my king and stand as an heir with him which is a glory beyond all the beauty I can begin to imagine today.
Praying for each of you reading today,