From Groans to Glory
Open Your Bible
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.
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.
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.