By: Andrew Johnson, Associate Pastor, Neartown Church
April 20, 2018
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.
On March 16th of this year, The Decemberists released their latest album I'll Be Your Girl. On this stellar record, they bemoan the state of things. The opening track has them crying out, "Oh, for once in my life, could just something go right?" while shouting in another, "Everything is awful!" Through the insanely catchy hooks and 80s inspired synth, they get at a core tenant many of us feel day to day - all is not well in my world! I want it fixed!
Many dismiss these sort of feelings as complaints. "Cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it" logic. Another view, however, is to see these deep heart cries not as whining, but prayers.
Josh Larsen, author of Movies are Prayers, says in the book, "Whenever I sense something beyond this temporal world - whether the movement of God or the machinations of wickedness - I respond, without formation or premeditation, in awe, anger, or confusion. In these unplanned and impulsive prayers, I'm just a boy standing before God, asking him everything."
Paul writes to the Romans a similar thought here in chapter 8:22; all of creation is crying out to be made whole. People know this world is busted and they know they want to be free. These same people, in unplanned and impulsive fashion, are crying out for it all to be made right because often, "everything is awful!" They pray without knowing it as prayer, wanting someone to intervene.
Where in this broken world do you see a need for Christ's wholeness? Who in your world needs to know the freedom of Jesus?
Paul then notes that "we ourselves", the ones already adopted (Eph 1:5, Rom 8:15, Gal 3:25-29, 4:4-7) groan inwardly for his full glory and full freedom for all of creation. We, too, aren't complete! We haven't "made it," getting to sit on our haunches and calling ourselves "all good." We ourselves know that many of our passions are misaligned, drawing us away from Him and others who need him. We ourselves are lulled out of action.
Where in your life do you see weakened passions that lead you to stay bound? Where in your life do you see wounds that need mended?
Paul closes these 4 verses with a call to patience; but since when does "patience" mean sitting idly? "Patience" is not an invitation to riding the pine (sitting the bench). It's a call to directed hope in the ONE who can move hearts and systems.
Revival rests in the cry for our great Creator who has made us in his image to restore us and make all things new. Let's pray daily, eagerly and expectantly for it!
• Pray for God to correct & renew unjust systems, giving freedom to the oppressed.
• Pray for God to intervene & redeem our friends and family that do not yet know him, as they'll continue to cry out for freedom and wholeness until he moves.
• Pray for God to reform our passions to his and live in an active hope of a coming Savior.
Lord, we are in need of your present restoration and redemption. This world is broken and will stay that way until you make it whole. In your grace, please intervene in Houston. Bring justice to these broken places that surround us. Allow me to play a part in seeing them made whole. Lord, please bring to mind 3 people to specifically pray for that don't know you. In these 3 lives, Lord, draw them near to you and draw them to repentance. Allow me to see your grace in their lives through salvation. Jesus, thank you for redeeming me; show me where I am too easily satisfied in things and places other than you. Reform my passions to be satisfied by you and you alone. Holy Spirit...please move in the Church of Houston and bring about your revival as you make all things new.