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     For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 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. For in this hope we were saved. Rom. 8:22-24

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that the Christian life isn’t a call to posing or pretending, numbing or medicating, but a life of groaning and growing in grace.

Paul’s words in this passage about the intense groans of childbirth help us to voice to the things we often feel—living as broken people in a broken world, aching for life in the new heaven and new earth. Though you don’t give us an epidural or anesthesia, you do give us yourself, and that is enough.

We abandon ourselves to your promise that one Day the whole earth will be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God; one Day the barren places will have trees again and those trees will clap their hands; one Day desolate hills will seem like dancing mountains. One Day there will be no more sin in us or around us. Indeed, Lord Jesus, you are redeeming people, culture and the environment—a big gospel for a big task.

One Day you will wipe away every tear from the eyes of your people, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away for your world in waiting (Rev. 21:4). How long, O Lord? How long until that increasingly longed-for day? Oh that it could be today . . .

Because of this hope, we will not tune out, numb out, or check out. We will seek to show up, with heads up and hearts engaged. Lead us, King Jesus. Lead us into your work of redemption and restoration. What will it mean for us in 2014, to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with you in the broken places of your beloved world?

We praise you that you do not despise our confusion, our despair, or even our railings against heaven and the mysteries of hard providence. We rest in your promise to give us all the grace we will need to follow you trust you, wherever you send and place us. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and trustworthy 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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