Summary: There’s times when we’re seemingly dealt one crummy hand after another. It’s in times like these when there’s really not much we can do but groan with deep frustration in prayer, and place our hope in in God that he’ll turn our groans to glory.
The other day I needed to take my mind off things, so I opened my computer and played a game of hearts. Now, for those of you who’ve never played hearts, the object of the game is to score as few points as possible. You do this by trying to pass all your hearts to your three opponents (who are also trying to pass theirs to you).
Now, Like all card games, no matter how diligent you play, there’s time when the unexpected happens, and you’re hand turns to disaster. One sneaky move from an opponent and it’s game over. However, like life, there are times when grace intercedes, giving us opportunity to play the perfect hand, and win the game.
Anyway, I tried early on to play the perfect hand — something called “shooting the moon;” but one opponent caught me off guard and, and my hand suffered incredibly. From that point, things didn’t go quite the way I had hoped. In my frustration, I started to groan and fuss; and to be honest, I was ready to quit. Still, I decided not to give in.
I hoped my putrid game would find redemption. Just when I thought my chances of winning were six feet under, I came from behind, “shot the moon,” and won the game. I thought, “You know, Jason, this silly game repeated a life lesson that you needed to hear at just the right time. Here’s that lesson.
There’s times when it seems like we’ve been dealt the perfect hand; but then something happens that unexpectedly that sets us way back. Then, there’s those times when we’re seemingly dealt one crummy hand after another. It’s in times like both of these — and everything in-between —when there’s really not much we can do but groan with deep frustration in prayer, and place our hope in in God that he’ll turn our groans to glory. That’s what we’re going to look at this morning; and I think it’s coming at a good time.
This has been a tough week for our community. We lost loves ones, family and friends; and others are suffering with health related issues. Yet, God’s Word assures us he’ll turn our groans to glory if we put our hope in him. Please open your bibles to Romans 8:18–30. Let’s start out by reading VV 18-23. READ VV 18-23.
CREATION GROANS WITH SUFFERING
It’s like Paul is saying here, “I know you’re suffering. It seems like you’ve been dealt a crummy hand, but your liberation will one day come.” Now, before we go any further, in order to get the truly get the gist of what Paul’s saying here, we need to look at the key word he repeatedly used, that being “creation.” Paul was harkening us back to Genesis 3 and the Fall of Adam and Eve, with special attention on VV 17-19. Let’s turn to Genesis 3, and read VV17-19.
Now, it might seem as though Adam and Eve were as dealt a bad hand, but in all reality, they weren’t. Truthfully, God dealt Adam and Eve the perfect hand at the beginning of the creation. He gave them the ideal place to live, and provided for their every need. They could have “shot the moon” if they had just lived the real-life game of hearts with faithful perseverance.
However, God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Adam and Eve; and Creation weren’t the only three players in this real game of hearts. Satan decided to sit in as the spoiler, and he’s in the game to win it. He’ll take every opportunity he can to make our lives miserable, kill our spirits, and take our souls— if we don’t place our hope, trust and faith in God beforehand.
Now, even though God dealt humanity the perfect hand, Satan caught Adam and Eve off guard. He whispered sweet nothings in their ears, gave them a little wink, and convinced them to ease up from their faithful devotion. You know, Adam and Eve had everything going for them, especially with God instructing them how to live the perfect life. However, Genesis records they didn’t. They played badly, and Satan took advantage of their one, big boo-boo.
Because of that, their lives — and all of creation (including you and me) —was set back for a time. Genesis Chapter Three records that because of Adam and Eve, the ground is cursed; we’re forced to painfully toil all the days of our lives, our relationships will suffer, and we will all perish and return to the dust of this earth.”
Since Adam and Eve’s sin, all creation has been groaning with one bad hand after another. We’ve been made to suffer through this life. But, God doesn’t cause the suffering; however, he does allows it to happen. And sometimes it seems like just when we’re making progress and trying to get ahead; The devil —our opponent — smacks the queen of spades and bunch of hearts, and sets us back, for a time. We’ve experienced a bit of that that these past few weeks in the valley.