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Friday, April 26, 2013

Today’s Reading | Romans 8:19–25

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (NRSV)


Reflection

So often we are struck by how much suffering there is in our broken world. When natural forces such as floods, earthquakes, wind, and fire cause destruction, we can almost hear creation groaning. We hear people groan when they suffer from warfare or self-destructive behavior. We ourselves groan inwardly when confronting disease, disappointment, and, ultimately, death.

When what we see appears futile, we need to place our hope in what is unseen. Our hope is built on the knowledge that God is in charge of creation and that through his sacrifice and righteousness, Jesus Christ heals this world’s brokenness. Just as the pain of childbirth is followed by joy, so we can be assured that our present difficulties are temporary as we anticipate the joy of new life in Christ. When we experience difficult times, believing God’s promises to be true can give us the patience and hope to endure.

I think the last stanza of a familiar hymn written by John Calvin says it best:
          Our hope is in no other save in thee;
          our faith is built upon thy promise free;
          Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
          that in thy strength we evermore endure.


Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank you for the world you created and for my place in it. Thank you for your love that has redeemed me and assures me of my adoption as your child. Grant me the strength and patience to endure life’s trials. May I always remember that you are the foundation of my faith and my belief in things hoped for. Amen.


Written by Bev Pace, member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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