“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed IN us. For the creation waits in EAGER expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in HOPE that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and bought to the FREEDOM and GLORY of the children of God.”
Last night at cell group, we reflected on Romans 8. It left me feeling relieved, refreshed and a little reassured. It is such a well known passage and one that I come back to again and again as it reminds me of the truth. I was relieved to be reminded that there is no condemnation in Christ. I was refreshed to learn again that nothing can separate us from Gods love. And I was reassured that Jesus intercedes on my behalf when I dont have the words or the energy. I felt humbled as these snippets worked there way into my heart and I felt a surge of thankfulness at all God has done for someone like me who does not deserve it.
The bit that struck me the most were verses 18-25. As I read the passage, I could identify with the “inner groaning”. Of that tension between the now and not yet. There is a frustrating struggle between the present suffering and the future glory we know is waiting for us. It is that feeling of knowing that life isnt meant to be like this, that there must be more to it. I had never thought of that frustration being useful before, but as I re read the verses I realised that the groaning helps remind me that there is more to this life than meets the eye. This is not home and we are not yet who we were created to be. Maybe as we embrace those groanings we have more capacity to be salt and light in our lives as we embrace, rather than fight, we find a sense of freedom.
There is another tension between the words suffering and freedom. How can we know freedom when we also experience suffering? I guess for me, knowing that this life is part of the journey and suffering just another symptom that we are not yet in heaven, I feet I can breathe easier. I dont need to struggle against it. Instead I can use it as a catalyst to eagerly anticipate the day I arrive home. There is freedom in the acceptance that God works for the good of us. That may not mean a pain free life but we can be safe in the knowledge it is leading us to liberation and freedom. It doesnt mean I understand or find it easy that bad things happen and so many people around the world face hardships. It doesnt mean I am ok with broken relationships, illness and poverty. But right now, through Romans 8 I think I am being shown that I dont need to struggle against injustices in life. It means I can be comfortable in the uncomfortableness of feeling like I dont quite fit. It means I can be brave in standing out. Because all that tension means is that I am on my way home.