Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hallelujah Hallelujah"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 8:20-21 – Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (NLT)
After an extremely cold winter, I was happy to set free into the wild several ladybugs that had taken up residence in my home. A friend suggested that I get rid of them, but instead, I kept them in a plastic storage box and gave them food with droplets of water on a leaf of lettuce. Then, when the weather became warm, I released them, but some of the babies seemed reluctant to leave their new abode; I suppose it was because they were comfortable right where they were.
Nevertheless, today's Scripture makes it clear that creation is not comfortable in its present state; currently, it is groaning in pain. This concept reminds me that the ground is cursed. It has been producing thorns and thistles ever since Adam and Eve sinned. Thus, the earth is subject to decay. Consequently, when I hear of natural or manmade disasters, I imagine that nature itself is frustrated: eager to be changed and set free. Still, for humankind, deliverance is impossible until there is spiritual transformation.
Yet, God's Word declares that there is hope and redemption for our physical world.
Isaiah 35:1-2 – The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. (NRSV)
Isaiah 55:12 – For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (NRSV)
Isaiah 65:25 – The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent — its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord. (NRSV)
Revelation 21:1,4 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. (NRSV)
Therefore, when we are saddened by the events in the world around us, may we remember these promises and look ahead to the future glory and redemption of all the earth.
Prayer: Almighty God, You alone have the power to redeem us from the bondage of sin, even while we wait for the transformation of this world into the paradise that You intended it to be. We thank You for the living hope that is ours through Your Son, Jesus Christ, in Whose holy name, we pray. Amen.