Day 18

From Groans to Glory

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 8:18-30, Isaiah 65:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 21:1-6

BY Erin Davis

I hope your summer fun list includes a trip to an amusement park or two. Nothing gets the blood pumping like circling a track at a hundred miles per hour while simultaneously crying, laughing, and screaming. That’s good stuff. But before you fill the water bottles and load the kids into the minivan for a day of sweltering, screaming fun, I need to let you in on a secret your brain already knows. 

It starts with a feeling sociologists call “museum fatigue.” It’s a phenomenon our brains experience in big spaces like amusement parks or museums. It’s a general sense of being lost or exhausted that comes from hanging out in such a large space. 

“Museum fatigue” could give park-goers a bad experience, causing them to leave the park and not return. But architects have learned that we’re less likely to become overwhelmed if they include a large visual landmark. They’re looking out for us and their bottom line by ensuring we’re willing to stay on the grounds long enough to fork over the cash for overpriced lemonade and nachos. 

Think about it: Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World. Spaceship Earth at Epcot Center. The 150-foot “Big Wheel” Ferris wheel at Six Flags. Each offers its own brand of fun, sure, but they also give a reference point to come back to, something to focus on when we feel overwhelmed, overtired, or just over it altogether. 

Paul never made it to Disney World, but he must’ve known a thing or two about feeling anxious, overwhelmed or disoriented. Here, in Romans 8, he shoots up a flare of truth for the believer to come back to every time we feel the same. 

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to his purpose.
—Romans 8:28

If this is one of those feel-good verses that’s become so familiar you’re tempted to race past it—STOP. This is the mother lode, friends! If God can use all things for our good and His glory, nothing can knock us off kilter. He makes us sure-footed. It’s the kind of steady posture that caused Paul to restate the truth in Romans 8:18, 

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 
—Romans 8:18

Paul describes the process of redemption—that supernatural metamorphosis whereby God makes all things new (Revelation 21:1–6). Paul was so anchored in the gospel that no wind could capsize him. That’s not new news, but this may be: the steadiness of Paul is possible for us too. 

God’s promise means He’s already at work, reshaping everything for good. Nothing can stop the redemption process (Isaiah 65:17). Not death, not life, not angels nor rulers. Not this moment or all the tomorrows to come. Nothing can stop God from working all things for good—not even you. 

Life is big. It’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed or like we want off the ride, but God’s truth anchors us against museum fatigue. The story of redemption gives us a point to come back to when we feel alone or afraid. The next time you feel overwhelmed, overtired, or just plain over it, look up. The same cross that steadied Paul in the face of unthinkable trials will steady you.

Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "From Groans to Glory"

  1. Sarah Rogers says:

    Alison you maybe we see this given the timing but wanted you to know I will be praying for your son, I have a nephew who was born with seizures they think from a stroke he had before he was born. Ultimately they were able to do surgery to stop the seizures, he still has a lot of challenges but is now a thriving 6 year old. Wanted to share to give you some hope

  2. Lara-Turiya Molitschnig says:


  3. Chris Unander says:

    Alison, praying this morning for you and your son.

  4. I love reading a post that will make people
    think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

  5. Alison Kuhlman says:

    Wow- todays reading has a big star next to it and encapsulates the hope of the gospel for those dealing with suffering and death. My one and a half year old has suffered from a rare and catastrophic seizure disorder for the past year. He can have up to hundreds of seizures a day, is very delayed, and not much is known about his future. These verses offer hope that the Lord is at work for good even when I cannot see it. That even though in this life we will experience death and decay His glory will ultimately win.

  6. Amy EB says:

    My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary today. As I was reflecting on the last 5 years and some of the highs and lows we’ve been through together, I thanked God for strengthening our marriage despite some of the hardships we’ve been through. But then I thought, no, our marriage had been strengthened thanks to those hardships, not despite them. God does work everything together for our good. He doesn’t let things come into our lives if he can’t redeem those circumstances. The moments when we felt weakest were when he was working in our lives to strengthen us.

  7. Bonnie H. says:

    I have been with you all over the last 6ish years in every study with a friend, but this is the first time I have commented. I just wanted to share out of my own recent experiences, a thank you to SRT for this today.

    For any who are experiencing profound loss, today’s readings are like water to the soul. Collected here together, are passages that encapsulate Christ, the Hope of Glory, the One who binds up the brokenhearted, wipes away every tear, and comes for us with a shout! These words indeed are Faithful and True. I am so grateful our God gives us His presence and comfort through the Holy Spirit and His Word! May you each experience His closeness today. <3

  8. Mercy says:

    @VICTORIA E: praying for you! Hugs. May this struggle turn around for your good.

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