Summary: The Holy Spirit give us hope in our hopelessness.
Title: Groaning in our Waiting
Text: Romans 8:18-25
Thesis: The Holy Spirit gives us hope in our hopelessness.
I read this week that there is a high end, reservation only and cloth napkins restaurant in Portland, Oregon named “The Groaning Board.” My guess is the food is fabulous so the groaning is likely over the prices on the menu.
I was surprised to discover that there is such a thing as a “groaning toilet.” It the groaning sound caused by the hydraulic properties of water vibrating through the waterline of a building. While we may think there is air in the waterline plumbers know it is caused by a defective diaphragm in the fill-valve or ballcock in the toilet tank. You can figure out which fill-valve is faulty by a process of elimination.
In September of 2013 some Canadians were convinced aliens were making groaning noises in the sky. That theory was pretty much debunked. However there were noises. The Huffington Post cited a University of Saskatchewan physics professor who said the groaning noises in the sky were from the electromagnetic waves emitted from the Northern Lights. I don’t know what that means but it must be…
Groaning. We understand groaning as to make a deep sound because of pain or some strong emotion as in grief or disappointment or to make a low sound associated with extended suffering, sorrow and toil. (Groaning is more than expressing annoyance or unhappiness. It is more than murmuring and complaining.)
Groaning is unintelligible. It’s a sound that expresses what is inexpressible. Groaning expresses feelings that cannot be fully expressed with words. Heartbrokenness. Grief. Despair. Physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion. Shame… we groan when we are in the depths hopelessness and helplessness and utterly at a loss as to what to say or do.
It is those experiences of hopelessness that the Holy Spirit of God comes to us.
I. The Holy Spirit gives us hope in our waiting, Romans 8:18-25
What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Romans 8:18-19
The thought here is that we are here and now, so to speak, but we are looking forward to there and then. The in between time is called “waiting.”
I don’t know that any one gets a big kick out of waiting. Sometimes waiting is a really long time.
On Friday the BBC reported a Canadian, Edgar Nernberg, found five fish fossils while digging a basement for a new house. He is a (New Earth) creationist (and remains so) but he knew he had found something extraordinary and contacted a paleontologist.
The (Old Earth) paleontologist said the fossils were found in sandstone from the Paskapoo Formation which is a Paleocene Age sedimentary rock which preserved evidence of life at that time immediately following the mass extinction of life at the end of the Cretaceous Period which wiped out 3/4th of the species on earth, including the dinosaurs, 60 million years ago.
Here’s my point. Five fish died 60 million years ago. Those 5 fish waited 60 million years for Mr. Nernberg to excavate them with a backhoe. For the first time in 60 million years those fish were once again in the light of day. 60 million years is a long time to be trapped in a sedimentary rock.
That kind of elapsed time puts the frustration of sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room or sitting in traffic in the poor person’s lane on 36 while the rich guys blow by in the express lane in perspective.
Our text today speaks more to waiting in sedimentary rock than to waiting in traffic. And specifically to how creation and mankind waits for what is yet to come… our hope.
A. Our Present Hopelessness, 8:18-23a
We know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of child birth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan even though we have the Holy Spirit in us as a foretaste of future glory. Romans 8:22-23
In Genesis we read of how one of the consequences of Adam’s fall was that the ground would be cursed. We don’t really get that beyond the fact that people would have to scratch a living from the soil and do battle with thorns and thistles in order to get food to eat before we would eventually return to the ground from which we were made, i.e., “dust to dust ashes to ashes…”
For Adam and Eve and for us the idyllic life in the Garden of Eden was no more and will never be until Jesus comes again.
Meanwhile we work really hard at taming the land.