We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
I will have to admit that I do not know what the experience of labor pains are like. I know that as my wife’s contractions gained in strength I was rooting to see how high the number could get on the monitor, while she was glaring at me! While natural, labor pains are not something that we look forward to. However, they are necessary to bring about new life and the hope for the future.
Paul states that the whole world has been in labor pains until now. Yes, the Messiah has come into the world and walks side by side with the first disciples. We would hope at this point that labor pains would have come to an immediate end as he died on the cross and rose on the third day. While we have the promise that we too will be raised in eternal life, we still live in a world whose labor pains seem constant. For constant warfare among tribes and the fear that is heightened anytime we hear of another mass shooting in our own country, the world groans and God weeps. It is in the hope of Christ that we look toward. Our faith carries us forward in this time of waiting.
Let us pray. Patient God, you are patient with this world as we continue to create havoc among ourselves and live in constant labor pains as the promise of new life moves us forward. May you continue to guide us in this Advent season to be patient ourselves, awaiting the promise you have gave us. AMEN.