“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” – Romans 8:22
All of creation groans within itself, waiting for God to restore it to the perfection. And if all creation groans, we also groan.
Job groaned under the intensity of his suffering – that God permitted.
Lot groaned over the wickedness that surrounded him – that God allowed.
Jeremiah groaned under the burden of God’s judgement – that God gave.
Christ groaned receiving the full weight of human suffering, human wickedness, and God’s judgement – that God laid on Him.
Today our spirit’s groaning is evidence that the world was not created this way. It is proof that we were not created for this world. Our groaning directs us to cry out to Christ. The One Who has taken all of humanity’s groaning upon Himself and left hope in place of the pain.
So when we groan, we weep as those who know joy is coming. We cry out to our Savior in full assurance of His victory over sin, doubt, suffering, and death. We respond to sin in love, knowing sin cannot bring anything but death, but Christ brings life and peace – and we were saved in this hope (Romans 8:24)!
We think of history as a single entity. Thousands of years, we compress into a single short word. And yet we realize that time is ultimately short and will come to a close. Giant volcanos will eventually explode. WWIII will break out sooner or later. Nuclear holocaust. Incurable pandemic. Mass extinction will happen at some point. Unless Christ returns before that.
But many of us (irrationally) think our personal time is long. I’ve got lots of good years left – unless the above things occur. I will be healthy – or live in constant anxiety. I will do. I will pursue. I will succeed.
It’s a farce. Christ may come tonight. This very hour.
WWIII may touch off before we wake up tomorrow bringing chaos in its wake.
But whether they do or not, our days – be they 100 years or 100 hours – are short and are given by God.
Just as time itself is short -- and given by God.
This reality is an urgent call for us to wake up and use our time for Christ, engage our world and communities while it is yet today. So, today, what are you doing?
“I don’t need ‘personal revival’.” That honestly was my first thought while recently reading I Saw the Lord by Ann Graham Lotz. And almost as quickly at that self-satisfied, smirky thought came, the conviction that I was wrong settled in my spirit.
No matter how deeply any of us feels we know God – there is still more God desires to show us. C.S. Lewis described this reality in The Last Battle with the phrase, “Further up and further in.” Regardless of how well we think we know the Bible, the Holy Spirit is still patiently waiting to take us further up and further in. No matter how consistent and personal our prayer life, the Lord plans to move us further up and further in. Even when we believe we are fully obeying Christ – there is still more Jesus desires to accomplish through us going further up and further in.
There is still more, always.
And when you or I become complacent, arrogant, or distracted, it doesn’t mean God is satisfied and doesn’t have more for us. It merely means we are missing out because He has more.
Oh Lord, that I may know you and the power of Your resurrection, the fellowship of Your sufferings, and be conformed to Your death! Will You take me there? (Philippians 3:7-11)
The semester after I graduated from high school, I found a drop cloth in the garage and painted a world map on it. My brother and his family still have it.
The problem is that my map is outdated. No South Sudan. No Kosovo or Serbia. No Montenegro. Even though we can all think of new countries or countries who have changed their names, we still think of the world’s geography as being final, set in place.
But God’s geography is truly unchanging.
Point at something. It’s His.
Think of something in your life. It’s His.
God’s map is simple: It merely says, “Mine.”
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.