Unwrapping This Hope

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
In Haiti, they mourn. In Darfur, they suffer. In Thailand, in China. In New York City. In our neighborhood. In our own homes. In our hearts. Sometimes, it seems the clouds can't lift. It seems there is nothing but this gray, these tears, this pain.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
In spring, expectation bursts forth, defiant buds pushing through wintered ground, daring to blossom, as if they have forgotten the heat of the summer, autumn's hazy sorrow, winter's killing chill. The sun rises after night, spreading glory over day. Joy comes in the morning.

Creation waits. We wait.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Creation captive, frustrated, waiting, groaning under the weight of God-hope. We who know, who have this inkling of His glory - we have encountered Christ, and we begin to realize redemption, reckon ourselves alive to God, stand fast in God-justified free.
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.
The earth shakes, trembling, shrieking, falling into itself and over itself, writhing in pain, knowing what we know deep - we are not what we are meant to be. The mother knows as she travails, when transition comes on strong, when she cries out for "God, God, help me, help me please!" and then her baby comes.

And so we wait, and ache, and try to hope.
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
An unseen hope that comes by faith, that grows in every spring our hearts know, that doesn't wither in the winds of autumn or freeze in winter's chill. A certain hope that at the end of this labor, death must die, and God will birth His life again into us by His Son.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
I shy away from that pain, from memory. Cling to smaller joys, try to ignore the longing. But always, it is there, in the depth of my spirit, constantly groaning, whispering of glory not my own, of God-joy, of peace that passes understanding.

Oh wonderful groaning, wonderful God who intercedes in heart-language we can't speak!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
The suffering,
the groaning,
the waiting,
the hope;

The God,
His plan,
His Son,
His intercession for us...

We will be what He meant us to be, and He will be glorified.

How big is this God of ours?

(A meditation on Romans 8:18-30.)


My friend Emily at Chatting at the Sky hosts a weekly "noticing" party - giving us a chance to unwrap and share the little gifts (and the big ones!) God gives to us in the midst of our dailiness.

Do you have a gift to unwrap today? Stop on by and link up with Emily, and share in the (mostly) paperless unwrapping!

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)


Abaloo said...

Today is the first day I have found your blog, and what a blessing it has bee to find. This is such a powerful post on such a powerful passage. I literally had goosebumps reading this.

I will doubtless be back here regularly. Thank you for your writing, what a gift!

I've also followed you on Twitter. Take care.

@bibledude said...

What an awesome meditation on an excellent passage! Thank you for sharing your heart like this!

Maureen said...

Blessings and peace.

sarah said...

that's so beautiful and inspiring. and I love the photo.

Deidra said...

He is big. Real big. Amen.

Samantha said...

Kelly- you've probably had this said before but your blog is so refreshing.

I noticed on Twitter that you're from Charleston. I grew up in Charleston and went to Springfield Elementary- spent lots of time at Kiawah Island and downtown. MANY good memories there.

Thank you for letting God use you so greatly.


livingpalm said...

Kelly, this post makes me think of this poem excerpt:

Have you dwelt in the house of the not
Yet born and have you paced its floor without
The benefit of footsteps...
could you sleep in that
Pitch perfect dark of not existing yet
-- from Amit Majmudar’s “Answers from the Whirlwind”, Image Journal (#59)

Mary said...

The photo speaks to my heart. Thank you for unwrapping my hope in this awesome creation God has given us!
Blessings and Grace...

Claire said...

Kelly your heart is grace filled.

I notice the small things, your gifts are one of them, right here on my screen.

Your photos make me sigh. I learn so much from you.

Lyla Lindquist said...

How to live sans that hope, how to know the groaning without knowing one Spirit to take it on for us, how to know the weakness and imperfection and defectiveness and to be fallen . . . and yet not know that hope.

I do not understand this, how one can stand under the weight of it, day after day, groaning for not, knowing no redemption.

And there but for that grace go I. A shredding, tearing reminder to me. You've done it again.

Richella said...

Oh, my. You have nailed it here.

Romans 8 is quite a passage on which to meditate. And to do justice in writing a meditation on it requires some real heart. Some heart's blood, even.

Thank you for doing it so beautifully.

Bradley J. Moore said...

Wow, Kelly - this is beautiful. I agree with Richella - it is posed here much as a meditation...almost like a Lectio Divina type of thing.

And the photography just adds.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

You wow me, Kelly. The Lord is evident here, in the images of photographs and the images captured with your words.

Sandy said...

Kelly, this was absolutely beautiful. Love the photo. Great to visit you.

Denise said...

this is absolutely beautiful, healing, and hopeful.

"we WILL be what he meant us to be, and HE WILL BE GLORIFIED!"

My God is that big, even when i forget it, as i am in the birthing process, waiting for delivery...still He is bigger than my fear, my disbelief, my questions, doubt, want.

thank you.

kirsten michelle said...

Oh, this is a breath of fresh air. Thanks for coming to visit. In the midst of all this pain and suffering, it is easy to get lost in it. It is easy to forget that we do not mourn like those who have no hope ...

Breathing in this hope deeply ...

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