The Groaning of Creation
Bible Reading: Romans 8
Romans 8:19-21, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
It was the hottest day of the year when our heat pump quit working. The temperature was unbearable in our house, not good for Laura, who deals with enough pain and discomfort as it is. I called some HVAC repair companies, but they were all booked out for days. Fortunately, my son-in-law reminded me of a common heat pump failure which I could diagnose and repair myself. I found and replaced the failed start up capacitor and that got the thing working again!
Things in this world break, as Murphy’s law humorously reminds, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible time.” My friend proposed a corollary law, “There is a carefully balanced equilibrium of fixed and broken things in the universe. Fix one thing, and something else must then break!” Things break. That’s why there are auto repair shops, appliance repairmen, computer repair specialists, etc. There are even people who repair broken people—or at least try to. What doesn’t break, rusts or molds or die. That’s why there are overflowing garbage disposal sites. We live in a broken world.
It hasn’t always been that way. God created a perfect universe and deemed it “very good.” But then sin entered in, and along with it, the curse. Since that day, creation has been subjected to futility and is in bondage to corruption. Weeds grow. People get sick. Earthquakes and storms happen. Cars and buildings deteriorate. Things rust and decay. Living things die.
Martyn Lloyd Jones has commented on this, “I wonder whether the phenomenon of the Spring supplies us with a part answer. Nature every year, as it were, makes an effort to renew itself, to produce something permanent; it has come out of the death and the darkness of all that is so true of the Winter. In the Spring it seems to be trying to produce a perfect creation, to be going through some kind of birth-pangs year by year. But unfortunately it does not succeed, for Spring leads only to Summer, whereas Summer leads to Autumn, and Autumn to Winter. Poor old nature tries every year to defeat the “vanity” of the principle of death and decay and disintegration that is in it. But it cannot do so. It fails every time. It still goes on trying, as if it feels things should be different and better; but it never succeeds. So it goes on “groaning and travailing in pain together until now.” It has been doing so for a very long time…. but nature still repeats the effort annually. But, it will be set free one day from this corruption “into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
In this subjection to futility and corruption, all creation groans. It is burdened under the weight of the curse of sin. It yearns for release. It anxiously longs (stands on its toes and stretches to see) and waits eagerly (an attitude of intense yearning and eager waiting) to be set free at the revealing of the sons of God!
There is still a beauty in creation which testifies to the glory of our Creator. There is still a need for each of us to be good stewards of that which God has blessed us with. But to expect any kind of paradise on earth is a fool’s errand. There will come a day when creation will be set free! And it is on that day that we fix our hope!
SAVIOR! HASTEN THINE APPEARING
Savior! hasten Thine appearing;
Take Thy waiting people home!
’Tis this hope, our spirits cheering,
While we in the desert roam,
Makes Thy people
Strangers here till Thou shalt come.
Lord! how long shall the creation
Groan and travail sore in pain;
Waiting for its sure salvation,
When Thou shalt in glory reign,
And like Eden,
This sad earth shall bloom again?
Reign, oh, reign! almighty Savior!
Heaven and earth in one unite;
Make it known that in Thy favor
There alone is life and light.
When we see Thee,
We shall have unmixed delight.