Egrets, Earthquakes and Us

February 24, 2023
Church Family: It is interesting to me how many in this world look at “nature” as innocent, pure and kind. We can make cliché comments like, “get back to nature" thinking that returning to a life that existed before the development of our modernized world will cure all our problems and evil.

I love creation. I spend as much time as possible in God’s creation. I especially enjoy watching the birds, fish and insects that call our coastal estuaries home. Within the first minute of watching our coastal birds you will quickly see how selfish they are. It is amazing to watch. The egret, osprey, heron and others continually fight for fishing spots (much like humans). They yell at each other day and night in their bird language– "get away from me, this is my spot." They engage in aerial battles to steal food that the other has already clinched in its talons. Sure, birds of a feather flock together, but they are generally selfish. Have you ever considered why birds are selfish? Or, why can the wolf not lay down with the lamb? Why can the cow and brown bear not graze together (Is. 11:6-9)? Nature or creation is not as innocent as the world wants us to think. Why does the earth shake and quake at its core making buildings collapse killing tens of thousands of people? Why do hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, and floods ravage this earth with such devastation? What about drought, crop failure and famine?

Romans 8:20, speaks directly to this, “the creation has been subjected to futility.”  Whether it is simply the animals of our world fighting and killing one another or natural disasters killing thousands or crop failure leading to famine, we are told that all of this is the result of the consequences of the fall and the sin of Adam in Genesis 3.

The imagery that Paul uses is that creation is “groaning in the pains of childbirth” (Rom. 8:22). Creation and mankind are intertwined in groaning to be set free from the judgment that God has placed upon us. I am groaning to be set free from my constant struggle with sin. I am groaning to be set free from my body that is deteriorating with great pain and inability to do what it once was able to do. Creation also, is groaning to be set free from judgment to be what God originally intended it to be without curse and without devastations. Can you imagine what creation will be like when it is "set free from its bondage to corruption?"

But God has designed this for infinite reasons. Here are two reasons. First, every earthly devastation and all of our own physical groanings are calling us to repent of our sin and lead holy lives. He is returning for those who are eagerly waiting for Him (Heb. 9:28). Second, our groanings are empowered by the Holy Spirit, who is our guarantee that God is going to make us and creation new, complete. He will set free all of creation from its bondage to futility. We will be made perfect as Christ is perfect (Heb. 10:14). God reminds us this is our HOPE in this world of futility. Groan inwardly with infinite HOPE (Rom. 8:23)!

See you Sunday, with Hopeful groans, Steve

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