Recall: chapter 7 - Paul probes depths of our sin; chapter 8 - forgiveness of sins, our being children/heirs of God. But how to cope with suffering? Today, see its context, the entire universe. Our present sufferings are nothing compared to future glory. Even if we suffer 24/7/365, we will spend an infinitely longer time in glory.While you're waiting, also sing the Psalms!
Paul anthropomorphizes the universe as impatient for the revealing of God's now-secret sons and daughters. That will surprise the evil (all others, Satan's children) who think that only this life matters. Why does creation wait? Answer: the universe is winding down, subjected to futility. All was cursed at the Fall. But God "subjected it in hope" - how we live (but the evil live by sight). We sin too - do we slap cheeks, or turn ours? We confess, are forgiven, and suffer in hope.
Now to the personal side of suffering. Our souls are redeemed and renewed, but our bodies are imperfect, waiting to be perfected. God, the Perfecter, puts a deposit on each of us, His Holy Spirit in our Baptism. He makes us to walk in hope, keeping joy through suffering. Be impatient for heaven!
Prayer is a wonderful tool in our possession; unfortunately, Lutherans don't use it nearly often enough. Use it in the waiting period; the Spirit Himself, in us, groans our petitions to the Father. He knows your spirit completely, also knowing Himself and interceding for us. Cope with suffering this way: know that the Holy Spirit sustains you.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Readings: Psalm 95; Isaiah 44:6-8; Romans 8:18-22 (sermon text); Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.