|18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. |
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 as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
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 with groans that words cannot express. (Romans8:18-27)
Paul talks about three kinds of groaning:
1. Creation groans. If humankind's rebellion against God was the nuclear explosion then the dark side of creation is the fallout. Natural disasters, disease, drought, famine, earthquakes, floods - these are all the after-effects of the sin of humankind. Creation was created good and while it is now subject to the wages of our sin, there will come a time when creation will be restored.
2. We groan. When we see the effects of our brokenness - when we suffer or we see others suffer we groan. Instinctively we rebel at the incongruity of death and suffering, somehow knowing that there is more to it than this. Somehow we know that there is something greater coming, but it is not here yet!
3. The Spirit groans. Did you know that you are a prayed in, prayed for, prayed through person? The Holy Spirit who lives in us is praying 24/7 for us lifting us to God. Especially when we suffer. It is He who asks the Father to strengthen, renew, and restore us in the midst of our struggles.
None of this groaning is in vain:
- God has a plan - suffering will end in the new heaven and earth.
- Our groaning is heard by God.
- He groans with us, in us and for us
Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.