I have been the fortunate friend to be a present witness to the birth of four babies (two boys, two girls). Never having birthed my own children, I learned a LOT, as you can imagine, from my brave Mama friends. I often think of the extreme pain they endured to birth new life. And I think of Romans 8, where we (yes, even men) are compared to a pregnant woman awaiting the great gift. Here are my thoughts on Romans 8, verse by verse:
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (v. 22).
I’m in good company. Today, the whole world is in “labor pains,” awaiting the birth of full deliverance –no more brokenness and full repairs. Groaning is a sign of discontent with this temporary home and makes us long for our true home. Today’s pain is not all there is. There is a limit.
“For if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (v. 25).
Hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). Eugene Peterson translates this section of Romans 8 by saying, “ . . . waiting does not diminish us anymore than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. . . . [T]he longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” Even as we groan, we can grow in joy. They can live side by side; they can even kiss.
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (v. 26).
God does not leave us alone in our groaning. He takes our “wordless sighs, our aching groans” and turns them into prayers. Our Priest Jesus knows our condition and He calms us with His presence, even as He offers our hearts to the Father. We can join the Spirit in praying for our friends.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who, have been called according to His purpose” (v. 28).
A friend sent me this from John Piper’s commentary on this verse: “Once you walk through the door of love into the massive, unshakable structure of Romans 8:28 everything else changes. There comes into your life stability and depth and freedom. You simply can’t be blown over any more. The confidence that a sovereign God governs for your good all the pain and all the pleasure that you will ever experience is an absolutely incomparable refuge and security and hope and power in your life.”
Amen and amen.