And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. - Romans 8:23
Longing. I don’t think I ever really understood the depth of that word until I said “yes” to my now-husband on June 14, 2016. That day, I agreed to marry him, and we began our 11 month journey of preparing for both our wedding day and our lifelong marriage.
And oh, those 11 months of engagement were fun. Yes, I had already been “planning” my wedding for YEARS. And yes, I had a color scheme in mind for the big day, along with so many high expectations of the newness and joy that would come with having a husband. It was just a matter of bringing those dreams to life, and I sought to do that alongside so many people who loved us and wanted to help us have a special day and a strong, God-honoring marriage. Truly, it was a fun time.
But those 11 months were also hard. Besides the reality that there was a lot of pressure - whether real or imagined, internal or from others - to find all the right elements for our special day and to be as prepared for marriage as we could, there was also the reality that my fiancé and I just wanted to be married. We got engaged in the first place for a reason, and that reason was that we wanted to live, in all the ways, two as one (Mark 10:7-9).
We longed to be able to say goodnight without having to say goodbye, and we longed to be able to wake up beside each other. After dating for four and a half years at the time of our engagement, we wanted so much to finally make decisions together, buy groceries together, have a home together. To actually express and communicate our love for one another as deeply as we felt it, and to live a life for Jesus together (instead of just alongside each other).
And that paradoxical feeling of knowing I’d found the man I loved and would join my life with, yet eagerly and sometimes painfully anticipating the day we would officially be united in marriage...that feeling is the most tangible glimpse I have experienced of the groaning Paul talks about in Romans 8:23, the longing to finally “receive our full rights” as God’s adopted children when we join Him for all eternity. It is not a coincidence that scripture compares the relationship of Jesus and His Church to a marriage (Ephesians 5:31-33); God gives us this precious gift on earth to experience more of Him and to teach us more about how He loves us, relates to us, has sacrificed for us, and has incomparable joy waiting for us in eternity with Him. Yes, even as we experience a “foretaste” of that joy while we live a new life by the Spirit in these earthly bodies, we expectantly wait for more.
1. Are you in the middle of a waiting period? How can the emotions you experience during this season help you understand the reality of knowing God today while waiting to be with Him forever later?
2. If you’re a Christian, what might it look like for you to live with “eager hope"?
3. If you’re not a Christian, how does this idea of an "eager hope" affect your view of God?
Because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, we have the chance to know FOREVER hope through the promise of God's Holy Spirit, who enters our lives when we put our faith in Jesus. If you would like to learn more about what it means to do that, please see our resource here.
God, thank You for creating me, loving me, and making a way for me to be made right with You in Christ. Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me, grow me, comfort me, and give me a glimpse of the eternal joy You have waiting for me in Heaven with You. Help me to live expectantly, eagerly hoping in You as I do the work You have for me here on earth.
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