On April 27, 2007, when I was 16 years old, I wrote the following in a blog post:
Are you content with just existing, being comfortable and not willing to change when it is necessary to lead a productive spiritual life? Are you content with letting countless opportunities pass you by? Are you content with watching from the bench while everyone else is out playing the game? Are you content with being indifferent about anything and everything, because you don’t want to have a connection to anyone or anything that would make you do more than you want to do, which is simply to exist?
I still ask myself these questions regularly, though probably not as frequently as I ought.
At the end of my freshman year of college I made a decision to switch my major to Biblical Literature because I finally had the God-given guts to acknowledge the call God has so clearly put on my heart to pursue a life of full time ministry. Previously, my primary end was comfort with a secondary objective of spiritual competency, you know, just enough to keep me out of Hell. In his immanent grace he snatched me out of the trap of trivial comforts and showed me a better way, characterized by a humble dependence on him.
Recently I have had the privilege of corresponding with a friend over email and walking through some of his questions in Romans—it must be noted that I find it no coincidence that I have been studying Romans since the beginning of June.
In our ongoing discussion of Romans, we happened upon Romans 8, and my friend did not send an email ladened with the usual doctrinal or theological questions he usually posed. No, not for this chapter.
We simply corresponded about the beauty of Romans 8 and how it shows the glory of God. Verses 18-30 in particular always manage to speak profoundly to me:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 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. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)
Reflecting briefly on this section of Romans 8 with my friend, I wrote:
The eternal perspective that this section, and this whole chapter, provides is invaluable to the Christian. You never realize how little our “big” problems are until you see life with an eternal perspective, and I think this chapter (and section in particular) convey our eternity so clearly. All of the big decisions in life (what college to go to, what major to choose, what girl to marry) all seem so small on the backdrop of eternity.Our big problems aren’t small by any means, however against the backdrop of eternity, they are no more than potholes on the path to glory.