Read Romans 8:18-30. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
Thank you, Gina, for reminding us of the serenity prayer and the need for discernment.
The two verses from his passage in which I can find meaning for myself are 8:21 and 8:28. When Paul writes that we do not know how to pray and so the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words — it’s like a description of contemplative prayer. And what is our deepest prayer but one for unconditional love? And if we can experience that love, both individually and corporately, we can have faith in discerning the things that will work together for good. . . .If only I could do more than just glimpse that love momentarily.
Back to Catherine Keller’s book, “God will answer out of [the creative chaos of] the whirlwind (Job 38:1)“ — even though when in the whirlwind, chaos may be all we can see. That makes waiting hard!
JulieAnn, I'm thinking that I should be putting Catherine Keller's book on my reading list. I feel such a peace when I think of contemplative prayer. Thanks for that reminder. (I wish it would come to my own mind more readily. Perhaps in time.)
What stands out to me is the determination of God's people to be optimistic. I want to remember to trust that the darkness may lead to something glorious. But I must remember to show compassion to those in the midst of darkness, those for whom the darkness leads to only more darkness.
Amy, you have described a way that we can take action (through loving) even while we are waiting. Thank you for that!
I think that it not only takes faith with a new perspective, hope for God's working in us, and for all humankind but also a large amount of trust and a wisdom and discernment only God can give. I can't help but think of the serenity prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
I appreciate your reference to the Serenity Prayer, Gina. Not only is it helpful for me to contemplate, but it's helpful knowing that I'm not the only one who has ever struggled with knowing the difference between what I can and cannot change.
I really liked reading this text in The Message. To me, it seemed to bring to life more the theme of pregnancy in this scripture.
Thanks for suggesting The Message, Sandy M. I read the verses there and got a whole different feel for them! Instead of feeling a tension between my TAKING action and my WAITING for God to take action, the wording in The Message makes me feel as if we are working together WITH God for those "glorious times ahead." Thank you again for suggesting that version of the Bible. I have a whole new perspective now!
What stands out to me in this text is hope. No matter how frightening, ugly, or unjust our world seems right now, it can "bear no comparison with the splendor, as yet unrevealed, which is in store for us" (Romans 8:18). That is comforting to me. We have that hope in what has not yet been revealed.
Yet, these verses do make me wonder where we find the balance between waiting patiently in that hope and working in the here and now to improve things ourselves. We want to work for justice and equality, to show support for those who have been marginalized. That sounds like Jesus's ideas to me.
The devotional mentions "eagerly anticipating--indeed fearlessly waiting for--the new thing God is birthing." How do we know when to wait for God to do what He is bringing about and when to take action ourselves?
@Ellen Flury what stood out for me in the devotional writing was the quote by Valerie Kaur. Faith dares us to think, Faith dares us to see the world differently. Faith dares us to ask questions. I also like how this quote pushes me to reimagine the situation and changes what is there from fear to hope.