On a mountaintop half-way around the world, a monument to scientific study stands aloof and foreboding. It’s a ramshackle stand of eerie buildings and lonely towers rigged with antenna. They stand as a testament to this past-its-prime laboratory in the deserts of Armenia. But the weird thing about this lab is that its actually still operating. In its zenith, 100 top-notch scientists were housed here as they tracked subatomic particles that were radiating into their equipment from supernovas thousands of light years away. These stands of equipment still track particles, but the only ones viewing the data are a handful of researchers who are trying to hold together cobbled facilities and equipment. The lab is still operating, but its definitely on life support. It’s basically a scientific ghost town that doesn’t have much of a future, but is leaning on its past success and hoping to still crack some thorny scientific riddles about our cosmos (Overbye). Its living on life support. In many ways, the theme of this facility is past success rather than future potential.
Romans 8 focuses in on the theme of hope because Paul wants to show the future joy that Christ’s disciples can anticipate. Hope in this context can be translated as joyful anticipation of future glory. Let’s take a look: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (Romans 8:18-25) The future is full of glorious potential for a joyful eternity with Jesus. But we can’t take proper stock of this future glory when we’re focused only on the past. The past can teach us, but its lessons are only useful when looking to the future. Hope for the future can be our theme, not past regrets or lost opportunities.
Overbye, Dennis. “Alone on a Mountaintop, Awaiting a Very Hard Rain.” The New York Times. 21 January 2020. Accessed February 18, 2020. Online.