Romans 8:18-30 (NIV)
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.
A Better Kind of Environmentalism
Two of the toughest questions we humans face are “why is the world so broken?” and “why do we experience so much suffering?” In this passage, Paul lays out how the Gospel answers even those questions in a mysterious and profound good way.
Our planet experiences futility as a result of human sin. But that is not the end. Jesus not only forgives us of our sins, He also restores people to their rightful place as divine image bearers who bring restoration to the world. In our most difficult suffering, there is always an opportunity to be more fully transformed, and for our wills and actions to become more closely aligned with God. Our suffering can be more than worth it, as we are “glorified” into people who dynamically reflect God’s image – and also bring restoration to the whole creation.
What are you hoping for that you do not yet have?
Is there an area where you are suffering right now? How does this perspective change things for you? In your suffering, how can you “press in” by faith to God’s purpose for you, and for the world around you?