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Devotional

(From Scripture Union)

Pray

Lord, use us as mid-wives. Your creation groans as if in labor and looks for solutions.

Read

Romans 8:18–39
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Our Victory in Christ 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Meditate

Consider

Carry the pain of the world to the heart of God in prayer. May the world find its true healing in Christ.

Think Further

What is the Father’s family business? What is our inheritance in Christ? It is the restoration of the whole creation (19–23). The church is the hope of creation. The created order needs the "freedom and glory of the children of God" (21). Creation longs for what the children of God already have. The church is a sign of hope—but hope involves suffering before the full glory of a healed creation can be achieved. The suffering is expressed in the word "groan" (22,23,26). The creation groans because of its decay and futility. If it could speak it would say, "It’s not meant to be like this!" However, the church is part of creation, part of its present condition and of its future in Christ. Because our bodies are not yet redeemed we can identify with the frustrated cry of creation, but we are bearers of hope. We know that one day God’s creation will not be like this. The pain creation experiences is more than we can bear, but the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers and responds, "with groans too deep for words" (26, ISV). This responsive Spirit dwells not far away in heaven but in members of the church. The church lives in the midst of a broken creation as a sign and communicator of hope. Our privilege as Christ’s fellow heirs is to turn the groaning of creation into the labor pains of the new creation. In the light of this vocation, Paul assures us that God is at work to make us like Christ, that God will provide what we need, that he will protect us and that nothing can separate us from the love of God (39). We are to give ourselves to a broken world assured that we are secure in the love of God.

Apply

Churches are not private clubs for their members, nor refuges from a hurting world. They are communities where the love of God meets a needy world with hope. How does your church address the needs of the world?

Pray

Lord, You have entrusted us with the assignment of offering hope to a bruised and confused world. Help us to shine ever so brightly as ambassadors of You, its creator.


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