The ground was cursed (Gen 3:17) and we see the effects of sin in and around us. We groan because we too are waiting – not just for the end of this lockdown, but for the completion of the redemption that was won at the cross. Benson’s commentary notes that with the fall of man, “the whole face of nature was obscured, and all creatures were subjected to vanity and wretchedness in a variety of forms.”
The pandemic amplifies what we already know: this is not how it is supposed to be. But the promise assures us of something else we know: this is not how it will always be.
Creation will be set free. How’s your lockdown going? Are you feeling hopeless? Are you longing for things to go back to ‘normal’? To work with people instead of screens? As an online teacher, I can spend upwards of ten hours in my room on any given day. So, when my dad asked me to help him in the backyard, I was glad for a chance to take a break from work and to be outside. The freshness of Spring welcomed me from the monotony of marking and I was struck by a blossoming tree that I had never really noticed before; the contrast was especially strong because my backyard was a tangle of unkept greenery, not least of which were weeds. But here was this tree, blooming its beautiful blossoms. It was blooming where it was despite a captivity longer than all our lockdowns. It was glorifying God while all creation groans. My mind immediately went to Romans 8: 19-25:
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. […] But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Maybe you are groaning, waiting, all while in pain. But your hope, like that of all creation, is real. It is the hope of restoration, of glorification (Rom 8:30). It is the hope of the resurrection (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor 15:42). It is the hope of a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:11-13, Rev 21:1) in which there will be no more curse (Rev 22:3).
The sufferings of our lockdown, indeed of all our lifetimes, are not worth comparing with the glory that awaits us (Rom 8:18). But in the meantime, will we, like the tree, bloom where we are? Will we glorify God even in our struggles? Even in our tangled messes? Will we sing His praise and tell of His wonderous deeds? Will we do justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God (Micha 6:8)? Will we abide in His Word and love His people? Will we forgive as we have been forgiven? Will we seek forgiveness? Will we do good?
Just like the beauty of that tree caused me to glorify God, our lives – contrasted with the chaos and hopelessness of this world – may cause others to glorify our Father in heaven (Matt 5:16).
Creation groans, and yet declares the glory of God. We can too. While we suffer, we can serve. While we wait, we can worship. While we long, we can look at the cross where Christ bore the curse of sin, broke the power of sin and of the devil, and set us free from the bondage sin and the fear of death (John 8:34-36, Heb 2:14-15).
So, bloom wherever you are. Bloom despite the weeds and the trials. Bloom and remember:
One day all things will be made new
I’ll see the hope You called me to
And in Your kingdom paved with gold
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old
I’ll praise Your faithfulness of old
About the Author
Anna Garas is a high school science and English teacher. She is currently working towards getting her counselling qualifications. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, telling them funny stories or having deep conversations. She loves adventures, especially in beautiful places. In terms of ministry, she has a passion for youth and missions, waiting for the day when there are no more unreached people groups; she also longs to see the abolition of human trafficking.