"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:22-25
I was reading these verse last night, and there was one particular bit that caught me- and almost set off my funnybone- because it is so true, and I wonder why I never saw it before. It's verse 24 in particular that caught my attention. First it says that hope that is seen is not hope at all. And then it asks who hopes for what they already have? And that's what struck me. And I thought about how that is so true! I mean, really, who does that? Who looks at their car and says, gee I hope I have that car later today. That's just silly- and yet, as Christians, we do that very thing all the time.
We go home from Sunday morning church service and we talk about how wonderful it was that day. And then we voice our hope that next week will be just as wonderful.
Why don't we voice a hope that next week will be even better?
I'm trying to not make this come out harsh this morning, but it keeps wanting to come out that way... why do we sit around and hope for what we already have, instead of hoping for whatever God has waiting next for us. Why do we content ourselves with being content? We walk around in our Christian happy bubble, content with the status quo, when God has so much more for us, if we only are willing to reach out and grab onto it, we could experience so much more. And I think for the most part, people are just afraid of what they don't know- and I get that, but it's God! We should never be afraid of a loving God! Look what He says in Isaiah:
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:18-19
Instead of forgetting the former things, we suck them up, and we get ourselves into a routine where we expect those things all the time, and we end up dwelling completely on the past. These verses make me think of worship music at church, and how many times I've heard of actual church splits over something as simple as the music being sung during service. Why? Because people dwell on the former things, and when something new comes in, it's different, its not the same, and right away people worry that it might be from the devil- trying to come in and cause problems.
You know, I've heard that as an argument quite a bit as of late. But how do we know that something is not from the devil? How do we know that what we are seeing or hearing about is from God? Do you know the last time I heard someone say that, I actually almost got insulted. Why? Because I have a partner in life called the Holy Spirit who lives and breathes with me at all times. I have complete trust in the Holy Spirit to warn me when something should be avoided, and conversely, to fill me with joy an excitement when I experience something that God is doing. That's one of the roles of the Holy Spirit, to help us with discernment.
To give a really basic example, lets use the example of money and spending. I can't tell you how many times in recent weeks it has occurred to me that I need something. I am having a horrible string of luck with my clothes, putting lots of non-repairable holes in things, and more than once, I've thought that I really just need to go buy some pants or a sweater or something. In fact, I'll go so far as to plan that the next day, I'll go do that very thing. Only then the time comes and I really feel a sense of foreboding, like I really shouldn't go spend money on clothes. So I don't go- that unease is really something I've learned to listen to. And then later in the week, just before payday, I'll check the status of the finances and see that if I had gone and spent that money on clothes, there would not have been enough in the bank account that week.
I trust that if the Holy Spirit is going to prompt me to not go buy a pair of jeans, He will also prompt me when the devil is trying to come at me with some spiritual mumbo-jumbo trying to pretend he's God. Because you see above where Isaiah says that God is doing a new thing? Well, the devil never does a new thing. He is not The Creator, he is only an imitator, and never comes up with something new on his own.
The whole point is that we do not need to be afraid. All of creation is groaning for the presence of God- our souls are no different. We can hope and pray each and every day that God will do something new to show Himself real to us. There was a popular song not to long ago with the lyrics that "there's got to be more to life" and that right there says it all. I don't want to get caught in a time warp and focus on the past. I don't want to be that person who hopes for the things I already have. I want what God would have for me next. I want to know and experience what He has for the body next- I don't want the same old outpouring or revival of the past. I want the new thing. So I will hope, I will rest in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will guide me, and I will be patient, while I wait on Him.