I have never experienced the ‘pains of childbirth’ but have witnessed up close the suffering! What does: the whole creation…experiences similar labour pain mean? This section of Paul’s letter draws us back to those first people made in the image of God. They chose to go their own way [Genesis 3] and, as a consequence of that, God told the woman: …with painful labour you will give birth… told the man: …through painful toil you will eat food from [the ground]… Life would be full of suffering.
The created order has been in a state of frustration from that time. We need not look far to point to the evidence of the ‘groaning’ as we hear daily accounts of violence, unchecked power, abusive extravagance and the effect these selfish lifestyles have on others, the creation and our relationship with God.
Yet Paul, starting in this chapter, speaks of the hope we have. Though there is groaning, frustration, and sufferings – the power of Christ is stronger. There will be liberation, freedom, and redemption for those who hope in the Lord. The pain of labour (speaking as a spectator!) is excruciating, yet is manageable if we fix our eyes on the beautiful result. In the midst of pain, we live in hope; as we do so, we bear witness to the living power of Holy Spirit who guides us to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Walking in the Spirit,