Rev Moss

Years ago, after being forced inside for days because of the rain, I can remember taking my daughter to the park. We all needed to get out of the house and run around for a bit. I thought it was going to be simple – a play in the park and then maybe an ice cream on the way home. However, it turned into much more than I bargained for.

We arrived and my daughter started doing her normal lap of the park, but then she saw something much more enticing than the swings: giant puddles, everywhere. It started off with her jumping in the puddles and getting her shoes wet. It ended with her rolling around and sliding in the mud. She was covered from head to toe. That was the fun bit. But then came the not-so-fun bit: the car trip home. She became cold, the mud started to dry out in her hair, and she became itchy all over. Soon she was crying and calling out for home.

I’m not sure if you have ever had the same experience. The mud can be fun but there always comes a time when you are calling out for home and a nice warm shower. In Romans chapter 8, Paul is writing to a group of Christians who are crying out for their true home.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Paul describes the current state of their world as “in the pains of childbirth”. There is a new life in sight. However, there is much pain to go through until they get there. Like childbirth, there is purpose in the sufferings of the world. Like us, the Roman Christians lived in a broken world, a world that is frustrated by futility, a world that is transitory and seems to always leave us wanting, a world where satisfaction is continually promised but never gained. We groan for more and long to see the end to this frustration.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” (Mere Christianity)

Paul tells us that the other world we long for is a relationship with God. That is what we have been made for. But just like the warm shower that was waiting for my daughter at home, those who put their confidence in Jesus eagerly wait for the time when their groanings will be realised. A life that is free from the brokenness and frustration will no longer be a hope but a reality because Jesus has already won the prize.

But for now, we need to wait patiently, no matter what happens, eagerly anticipating the great joy of seeing him face to face as his much-loved children. The frustrations, groanings and longings we feel, rather than distracting us, can remind us of the home to which we truly belong.