For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

Romans 8: 22

 

There are aches and pains that almost everyone experiences. Some of our parts hurt, and on certain days and under specific circumstances some of them do it with great vigor. In this verse Paul is attempting to describe a very great level of pain and suffering, as a man he has the same disadvantage in this task that I possess, disadvantage meaning essentially thank God I didn’t have to experience that. He is saying that in the aftermath of sin this world is in the grips of a form of pain that is unrelenting in its intensity and unyielding in its depth. Every joint, muscle, and tissue of its being is inflamed and disrupted from the peace that it desires to experience.

 

This is the place where we live. Its surface can be as alien and inhospitable as is that of Mars or Jupiter. There is no escape from this harsh reality during earthly life. Yet, God is merciful. You see, we deserve what we have. Our ancestors chose to make it this way, and every one of us participates in the ruination of sin. Still, God is gracious. He doesn’t leave us here alone. Christ knows the ruts in the roads, and He has personally endured the agony of human tragedy. Now, He walks those same paths with us and enters into our ordeal as one who brings wisdom, understanding, empathy, and comfort to our need.

 

In Christ we still reside in this alien landscape, and we will be battered, bruised, and tortured along the path of our journey through life. However, in it all there is purpose. Like the woman in her time of labor, there is hope; for, she anticipates the immeasurable joy of birth and new life. Christ gives all of creation this hope of rebirth and new life in a time of restoration to come. Yet for people He does even more. Christ graces us with a form of strength and a purposeful perspective that makes the struggles and the grief of this life endurable. As we follow Christ along this cross-shadowed road that is our life, He leads us through the depths and into the glory of His Kingdom come today.