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     I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 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. 
     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. Rom. 8:18-24
     Most holy and gracious Father… first of all, please know that I do not presume upon the privilege of knowing you as my Father and, by the Spirit, calling you Abba. What a sacred honor and joyful reality. It’s only because of the work of Jesus that I dare refer to you by such an intimate and comforting name. I praise you for adopting me into your eternal family and into your magnificent future.
     Indeed, Father, I’m stunned and stirred as I think about the future you’ve secured for us—your beloved children, and for the whole of creation—a future that puts all suffering, decay, and bondage into perspective. The Day of no more death, mourning, crying or pain has never looked better.
     Oh, that I might know more of the “eager expectation” for “glorious freedom” that marked Paul’s life and gave meaning to his inward groans—and the groans within creation, itself. Forgive me when I do more self-centered whining than God-glorifying groaning, Father.
     Let me groan as your child who is pregnant with glory—your son longing to be your glorified son, completely free, gloriously free. I don’t want just to quote Paul but join Paul in proclaiming, “I consider that the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed.”
    Glorious freedom—may those two words be tattooed on my heart, become an irrepressible melody in my spirit, and be the lens through which I see your hand at work everywhere. We’re destined, not just freedom, but for glorious freedom—freedom filled with your glory…
     Please, Father, open the eyes of my heart wider to behold the glory to be revealed in us and in creation. Too much of the time all I see is the brokenness of the world, not the beauty of your hand. Heal me of spiritual myopia. Do gospel laser surgery so that I can behold these things more clearly, and live and love accordingly.
     In the midst of decay, I want to be for your delight. In the frustrations of creation, let me savor the firstfruits of your salvation. Rather than being weighed down by present sufferings, I want to be hope-filled about future liberation. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ strong and saving name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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