Ever thought about what hope feels like? When ministers and other christian leaders speak or write about hope, what do you envision? Does it include confidence? Peace? Contentment? Belief? Assurance? Or does it include pain, longing, and the like?
In reading Romans 8:18f Paul speaks of present suffering and that yet reminding himself that it is nothing in comparison to heaven and our glorification. And yet, we wait, he says. Notice some of the words used in this passage (up to v. 29):
eager expectation, frustration, groaning (like in childbirth), wait eagerly, patiently?, wordless groans.
This is all included in this passage about hope–hope in what is not seen. Hope, it appears, includes eagerness and expectation, but also groaning and waiting for something that seems to be killing us despite the good we hope will come (like childbirth). Though hope was present, the experience the Christians were facing was difficult enough that Paul in v. 31 reminds his readers that if God is for them, then nothing can conquer them in this period of waiting. They were in pain!
So while the hope of heaven sustains us, it is not something that is at all peaceful or without suffering since we long for something that we yet do not see.
How do you put longing/groaning and hope together in the same breath?