The challenge of waiting
Associate minister Greg Ball shares with us a great encouragement from Romans 8 to remember as we persevere in the challenge of waiting for the new heaven and earth, and the redemption of our bodies.
It’s only been 11 years since Steve Jobs announced the introduction of the iPhone at the Macworld Convention (Jan 9, 2007). Since then, with the widespread mass production of smartphones, the idea of immediacy throughout the world has taken on a whole new meaning. Most things that we used to have to wait for are now available online 24/7. Banking, shopping, education, movies, even what we ate for breakfast—they all appear online, immediately, at the click of a button. The idea of waiting for something is fast becoming a thing of the past. Maybe that’s why, these days, it always seems so hard when we have to wait for something.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christian church in Rome, talks about the challenge of waiting: the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed… the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (Romans 8:19, 22). Ever since sin entered the world, creation has been subject to decay. The creation groans as it waits for the new heaven and the new earth. Paul says that Christians, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, [also] groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).
The gift of the Holy Spirit does not mean that we are freed from the pain of suffering and sickness in this present life. Our earthly bodies are still subject to decay and death. But we know that our adoption as God’s sons and daughters means that God will transform our frail earthly bodies to be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:21).
And so we wait, patiently, for God to work his will in this world. Even though, at times, it might be hard to wait, we are not alone. The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). When we do not know what we ought to pray for, the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).
Whatever challenges may come our way in this world, let us take heart that we do not go through them alone. God is with us, working his good and perfect will in our lives. So as we wait for the Lord to return, let us wait with joy in our hearts. For as the Apostle Paul says, ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18).