The word glory means “to be heavy”. It was used to describe the weights that were used on a scale to determine the value of a thing. So what we find is that all the suffering we share in this life added up together is not even close to being worthy of the value we are to have in the coming age. This is not a dismissal of the present age because some of what we suffer here is profound. But how much more valuable is the weight of what will be.
And because of this, we have to follow the practice of living by faith and not by sight. We live by faith in the eternal and perfect, not by seeing the temporal and imperfect. This is certainly not blind faith. God never commands us to go blindly. We have millennia upon millennia of God’s work and faithfulness to believe in. If someone ever asks you to take a blind leap of faith, they are probably trying to sell you something.
One of the reasons we know the depth and harm of what sin has done is that even creation waits with eager longing for redemption. All of creation, not just humanity, has suffered and been broken since the fall. To this point, creation actually became useless and futile in regards to God’s original purpose. But even so, God has chosen to work with fallen humanity in a fallen world. So creations waits in hope because nature will be part of eternity. We are told that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah tells us
“The wolf shall live with the lamb,the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together,and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together;and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
The restoration of all creation, humanity included, will see its original purpose to be fulfilled. God and humanity and creation will once again exist in intimate fellowship. With the fall of Adam, labor pains became a curse. But to Paul, even that will be redeemed as the fulfilled kingdom of God comes. But as we wait, we groan ourselves, like creation. The “already” in tension with the “not yet”. We eagerly await the finalization of our adoption, it’s completion and perfection. This hope of all creation being reconciled someday to God is so important that it is part of our salvation now. We must wait with patience and perseverance as we ripen and mature and show the fruit of the Spirit as it manifests in our lives. The Spirit leads us to groaning for reconciliation and leads us to hope and also helps us in our weakness. And God knows that we are weak. He’s pretty smart. He understands who we are and what we are capable of.
Creation groans in its futility. Believers groan in their fallenness and the Spirit groans in intercession. We think we always need to know the right answer or have to have the right word. Not being fully prepared for every situation is a fear that humans constantly have to strive against. But we have the example of Christ sending the disciples out with only his power and each other. He didn’t let them prepare for every contingency because he knew that it would be futile and he wanted them to rely on him. And we don’t always get it right. We don’t always or maybe even often pray for the right things. But God knows who we are and knows what we need. And there is no guesswork involved because the Spirit itself intercedes for the saints.