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Groaning and Hoping

Romans 8:22-24
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? (NIV)

It only needs average eyesight to realise that the world is not right; in fact everything is dysfunctional in some way or another. It is hard work to live here, confronting daily challenges to our bodies, minds and spirits. Although it would be nice to think that following Jesus would eliminate all struggles, the reality is that the more closely we follow Him, the more struggles we have.

However zealous our hearts may be, our first struggle is with our bodies and the sinful nature which we have to wrestle into submission, if we are to conform to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our imagination and the thoughts in our minds also must be taken captive so that they do not run wild away from Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). But all this struggle, discipline and hard work is not in vain. The Holy Spirit's presence within us gives us a confident hope that the struggles are temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Only a God-given hope of a sin-free eternity can keep us true to Jesus now. If we love Him when life is good and resent Him in the tough times, we know little about the hope of eternal life. That is one of the reasons why Bible-starved Christians are so unstable. Unless we keep being assured by the Word and the Spirit that the tough struggle is normal, we will think that something is wrong with our faith, or our Saviour. But those who are properly rooted in Christ will have a strong hope that He will keep us in the times of struggle and, when He returns, He will certainly complete our deliverance - with much joy for all eternity. So fix your eyes upon Jesus today!

Triumphant Lord. Thank Your for Your promise to keep Your children safe in times of trouble and to bring us to Your eternal kingdom. I am sorry when my human groaning has not been tempered by the joy of my hope of living with You for all eternity. Please help me to fix my eyes on what is unseen, lest I should believe that there is nothing more to my existence than what I see. May my hope strengthen me for every trial as You help me trust in Your promises. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams