Romans 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
This whole section has lots of marvelous, life-changing truth, but recent experience has really made this verse click. 12-hour-plus jet lag, coupled with 24-hour-plus travel time, on either side of almost three weeks of whirlwind scheduling that involved over 1000 miles of driving, can really make your body groan! Such experiences can really help us understand that these bodies aren’t intended to be eternal but will be replaced with glorified bodies, as Paul wrote about extensively in 1 Corinthians 15:25-57. That’s something it really helps to keep in mind, along with the Lord’s words to Paul when he had a major physical problem: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God does heal our physical bodies often, as He promised in Isaiah 53:5, but that is essentially peripheral to His over-all salvation. This trip has been particularly rough on Cathy, with her Parkinson’s Disease and other issues, and it hasn’t been easy on my 70-year-old body either, but God has given us some marvelous experiences along the way. We have renewed contact with friends from many years ago and met relatives we never knew we had! God has used us to bless others, and He has certainly used others to bless us. That said, at the point we arrived back in Omura last night, we were certainly groaning inwardly – and outwardly as well! God never wastes anything He allows us to experience, if we will only open our hearts to receive His lessons in all humility and gratitude.
My task at the moment is to internalize and apply all that the Lord has taught us over this time, not only to Cathy and me personally but also to the church in our absence. One thing I have realized already this morning is God’s grace and mercy in the little, mundane things of our daily lives. Being able to do some things that were completely routine before has given me joy and gratitude, and that is a great blessing. I try not to take things for granted, and I often caution others about that, but I am reminded of how prone I am to do it myself. I am reminded that Paul said being ungrateful was one of the negative signs of the Last Days. (2 Timothy 3:2) I don’t want those negative things being applicable to me! We have received grace upon grace, not only throughout this trip but every day of our lives. As I go through today, and each day, I need to give God the gratitude and praise He, and He alone, deserves.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed that we are safely back home in Omura. I do pray that everything You have done throughout this period may be put to full use, growing us and growing this church as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!