Living with an expectation - 19 July 2019

Ewald Schmidt

“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. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:23-25

How do we cope with all the conflicting emotions we experience as God’s children in this world? We have received such wonderful news: we are God’s children through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are saved. We have received the gifts of the Spirit, the first gift being God himself living in us. But on the other hand, we are still living in this world, with all the challenges and heartbreaking experiences it brings. We are still living in a decaying world. We are not spared from the decaying process. I see it in my bathroom mirror every morning, when I notice another few grey hairs. I feel it when I am trying to train to be fit, every year, it gets a little bit more difficult. We feel the pain of loss in this world, when our friends start dying, when family members develop a serious illness.

Can there be such a thing as pain that contains hope? Paul uses the one example that illustrates that this is indeed possible. Yesterday, we had read that the whole of creation is groaning for redemption, a new beginning. That groan is the same as a woman in labour, when the birth process of her baby has begun. It hurts a lot. But at the end of all the pain of the birth process is the joy of holding her baby in her arms. And that hope to see new life gives a woman the amazing strength to endure the pain. Paul uses that image to say: we are God’s children who have received his Spirit. We are still living in this broken world, and we are not spared the pain. There is a lot of hurt around us, and sometimes it touches our lives as well. We are groaning with pain, but we live with an expectation that God is busy ushering in a new order. Everything will be renewed when Jesus comes back. We do not understand it completely, because we cannot see it unfolding yet. But when we trust the promises of God, we live by faith, filled with hope. Our hope is the certainty that God has our future in his hands, and at the right time he will redeem our bodies and rid us from pain and death forever. Our hope lies in the new beginnings that God has promised us through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, the whole of creation is groaning in expectation of redemption, and so are we, as your children. We do not always understand the pain and hurt we are going through in this world. But we have your promise of a better future, of a time that will come when we are set free from the suffering of this world. We cannot see it happening yet. Therefore, we want to put our trust in you through faith, living in hope for a better future. Help us to endure the journey through the power of your Spirit. Amen.

 

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