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Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

Lent 2023

Read Romans 8:12–25

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing 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 will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Recently I read an e-mail from a young man who is struggling to understand why God allows suffering. He is not alone. Countless people wonder why an omnipotent and merciful God would allow all the difficulties and atrocities of this world to go on unhindered.

As Paul points out in today’s reading, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Things are often not well on planet earth. There is sickness, hunger, brokenness and unbearable pain. These are signs of a broken world. However, the same God who bought our redemption through the cross will one day bring the fullness of this redemption to the whole world. That is why Paul, in hope, encourages us to “consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” One day Jesus will come. Sin and suffering will be done away with. Harmony will replace brokenness. But this will take place in God’s time, not ours. Until then, we wait in patient hope. We fix our eyes on Jesus. We take comfort, knowing that we are his children. Because of Christ, we have hope in the midst of hopelessness.


Jesus, when I can’t figure out why things happen as they do, renew my hope and help me look to you. Amen.

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