There was a season of life where I read Romans 8 every single day multiple times a day, due to the suggestion of a mentor, as sort of a steroid shot for my faith. I was skeptical.

What we do forms us, this I know. I talk more than often about living a reordered life, one that echoes the Kingdom of God. I’ll chat your ear off about how incredible it’s been to implement practices of gratitude, sabbath, and communion in both my husband and I’s lives.

However, in coming back around to Romans 8, reading through and writing out the first few verses, I was eager to be done with the waiting period, the in-between of how long things take to get from this stubborn head down to my wandering heart. Remarkable, how quickly the flesh can fight against the truths we hold fast to, allowing us to question every firm foundation as we are tossed to and fro.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
— Romans 8:14-17

It’s been a long many days of lament. Even today, I cried out, simply asking, “How long, O Lord?” These days of lament have formed me. I am still uncomfortable in my sadness, yet, seeds of hope have been born because of consistency. Just as I was reading in the new book by Ruth Chou Simons, Gracelaced, a quote stuck out to me about that:

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.
— Martin Luther

Even as some of my laments have not turned around to a hope in God, He has fashioned this small seed to start laying root and bearing fruit. A season of waiting, of patience, has forced me to be on my knees in prayer, in petition. Sure, I have wondered at times whether or not He truly hears my prayers, as satan attempts to attack the very thing that is fuel for my faith today; but in recollecting the moments throughout my week where I have wondered how I would make it through, He has never once left me. He truly hears.

Here am I.

Yet, once more, my prayers are very revealing of the very things I believe. Although they are a recognition that all things come from His hand, as He gives and takes away, some of the statements are from my flesh, my fear, that fails to recognize Who my Father is. The line between ungodly worry and casting our cares seems some days to be more fine than others.

I spent a long time in an obscure passage in the book of Revelation today for a paper due, and thought I would get nothing out of it. Yet, the punch line remains something that will continue to blow me away. There are times, pretty regularly, where I look at what is around me, around the world, and only see suffering, pain, brokenness. There are many days when I feel as if the darkness has won, its heaviness and boast quite proud and bold. Yet, this upside-down Kingdom is doing something different, and when it looks like all is lost, He has the victory.

Life in Christ is not an absence from suffering, but having Him with you in suffering. There can be joy in what feels like a season of death, watching dreams falter weeks before the degree, walking with people in their fractured relationships, and serving beyond the point of it hurting. Suffering doesn’t stop there, being found as an heir, but ends only in resurrection.

He is good, and the desert can be refuge. He is forging us there, through every unknown and unseen. Circumstances change, and our Abba does not.

Soli Deo Gloria.