‘Tis the season for sickness. Fevers, congestion, stuffy sinuses, rumbling stomachs, and aches and pains are in full swing. For the last few weeks of winter I largely sat on the sideline of this game, but this week, Coach put me in. As I’ve been battling the opposition’s stuffy defense through my over-the-counter playbook, I’ve been reminded of the frailty and brokenness of the human body, and it’s caused me to think upon Romans 8.
Paul was writing to the Romans about how our world is broken. It’s been broken since the fall of man right after the completion of creation. Since then we have experienced a myriad of consequences for our sin, ranging from natural disasters like earthquakes to moral disasters like abortion. As he is writing, he uses an interesting way of describing the world by saying that all of these things that seem to be haywire in our world are the world’s way of crying out for a new world. It’s groaning for all things to be made right. Everything will be made right when Christ comes to reign in his Kingdom with us, his followers made family members through adoption. That’s why Paul writes this:
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God…for we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:19, 22)
It’s interesting to think about the creation groaning for a new creation, but it's a little abstract to be able to identify with it. But it’s much easier to identify with what Paul writes next:
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (8:23)
Just as the creation is crying out for a new creation, so our bodies, every time they creak or give out or hurt are reminding us that these are temporary bodies. And the fact that we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, he reminds us that we have new bodies on the way. Part of the fullness of the salvation that God has given us includes a new body—one with no pains, no hurts, no failures. And oh, how we wait eagerly for that!
Take heart in this as well, you are not alone in your groaning. The Spirit, who is within you, groans as well. In fact, when he groans, he does it in prayer, and the groanings he mutters are in conversation with the Father on your behalf.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 8:26-27)
Medical doctors often can’t diagnose our groanings. But ultimately they’re not meant to. Our groanings, physical or spiritual, are the result of our sin that will one day be wiped away forever. For those who are in Christ, the penalty of our sin has already been wiped away, but we look forward, with eager anticipation, to the day in which our groanings of a fallen body will be silenced out by the grateful praise of a new one, and we experience the wiping away of even the presence of sin.
For awhile now I've been writing articles for our church newsletter and posting on this blog (many of the same articles) without a title. Well, it's a new year, and for this new year, I have a new title. From now on, I will be writing and blogging under the title “Drink Deeply.” The idea for the title comes from Isaiah 55:1-2:
Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
The words “drink deeply” never appear specifically in this text, but the idea is all over it. Each one of us is thirsty. We have dry mouth. There is a longing within us for more, and we can’t find it anywhere around us. There is no thirst-quenching liquid that we can lay our hands on. Like pouring sand into the mouth of the parched is the pursuit of the hopes and things of this world to the one thirsty for God.
But we don’t have to remain thirsty. There is one who satisfies. There is one who fulfills. His name is Jesus. From his own mouth we hear these words:
...If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)
There is satisfaction for the soul-seeking thirst you have. There is an answer for the anxiety you have. There is freedom from the addiction you have. There is healing for the hurt you have. There is peace for the fear you have. There is purpose for the suffering you’ve been through. It’s all found in Jesus.
This is great news, but it gets even better. This water, this satisfaction, this peace has no price for us. Oh, it had a price, but the price was paid for by Christ when he bought your redemption and your joy through his blood sacrifice on the cross. And now the offer is to come. The banquet has been spread before you and the invitation has been extended. You thirsty? Come. You hungry? Come. You don’t have any money? That’s ok! Come. Eat. Drink. Delight yourself in abundance.
Every one of us thirsts. We all feel the thirst deep within us—the longing for freedom, peace, holiness, rest, and fulfillment. Jesus is the water we need, and we will only be quenched when we heed the invitation to come. So let us come. Let us bow down at the edge of the river of life. And let us drink deeply.