11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” A hard belief at a time like this—yet we forget how many of Paul’s letters were written from prison cells. Paul doesn’t hope lightly. He hopes when he’s sick and beaten, on the run, under indictment, with nothing to suggest that things will get better except this one experience he has on the Damascus road that has turned his life around. Maybe we wish that we had met the Lord so forcefully that something in our lives could outweigh the loneliness, the isolation, and the worry of the days ahead. Paul reminds us that, no matter how we feel, these struggles are only the groaning pains of labor. Something is waiting to be born. Things will change; and in our hope, they already have.
Loving God, as we wait for the birth of a new creation, let your hope be born in us. By your Spirit, lift our heavy and burdened souls into the lightness of joy, to carry us through the length of these days into our eternal home in your presence: through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.