As the World Groans by Aaron Hecht July 15, 2020
Romans 8: 19-23
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that 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. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and 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.”
This isn’t one of the more widely discussed and dissected passages of prophetic Scripture, but I think it deserves some attention, especially in the season of history we’re currently passing through.
One of the websites I visit frequently is called “The Watchers” which among other things, reports on news events which are not always widely reported in traditional media sites. These mostly include natural and man-made disasters, sometimes in very out of the way places.
For the last year or so, there has been one story after another reported on this website about such and such area which received several months (or even years) worth of rain in just a few hours, resulting in catastrophic flooding. There have also been stories about terrible droughts which lead to failed harvests (harbingers of famine), massive swarms of locusts and other pests, the emergence of exotic diseases, etc.
One of the stories which really caught my eye recently was the enormous forest fires in Siberia and the record-breaking high temperatures there, including the first ever recording of a temperature over 100 degree centigrade in a village above the Arctic Circle. There are also stories about all manner of storms which bring historic levels of destruction to cities and entire regions all over the world. Last but not least, there is an increase globally in both the intensity and the frequency of destructive earthquakes and attendant volcanic activity, just as Jesus warned would happen just before the end of the Age in Mark chapter 13.
So, it seems to me like the created world certainly is “groaning” in anticipation of the redemption that it knows is coming soon. This can be frightening to us as mortal beings, but it should be a cause of joy for us as well, since we are also looking forward to the return of our King and Savior to this earth.
However, those without the hope that the Gospel provides have nothing but the fear that these increasingly destructive natural disasters cause.
The solution is obvious.
We must share the hope that is in us, just as Jesus instructs us to do. This is ESPECIALLY true as persecution increases, as it already has in many places, including some where many people probably thought it was gone forever.
1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.