For a taste of Pennsylvania – and because baking is fun – my wife made a Shoofly pie for the first time ever.
It was as good as I remember it, with generous dollops of whipped cream. It’s just a pity that we ate it in the midst of what some reckon is the longest continuous lockdown in the world.
I’m still ruminating on Paul’s letter to the Romans, the eighth chapter now. Paul’s subject matter is vast and epic. All the way from the first chapter where he describes what the gospel is, that we can’t be right with God except in faith, where he describes the hopeless natural and moral condition of man, to the constant moral battle that is fought in the mind to choose what is right and reject what is wrong.
And now from the part where Paul has told us what’s happened, to describing how to practically live now that we know what’s happened. The latter part of Romans gets into more practicalities.
Living by the Spirit is as practical as the examination of the subject in theory. The Holy Spirit works in the world and more particularly works in the Christian’s life to transform theology into practice. I can think of no more practical thing He does.
He tells us that we are the Father’s children. We are loved, taken care of.
We are heirs and co-heirs, with a stupendous inheritance. John Piper lists our inheritance. We:
- Will inherit the earth
- Know God himself, and will be in his presence and will see his glory
- Can look forward to new bodies
We are heirs and co-heirs, with a stupendous inheritance. But we have to go through suffering in order to get to the ultimate good stuff.
Like having Shoofly pie to look forward to but you can’t enjoy it yet because you have a tooth-ache, or you’re too full of afternoon tea and can’t have another bite. Or any one of a number of reasons that you can’t enjoy it yet.
Paul writes that he considers the sufferings we go through are not worthy to be compared with the glory that awaits us. This is one of those times where I think I understand what Paul is saying, but I’m unsure how to get my heart over the line.
Its a package deal. Suffering preceding glory.
John Piper explains that “the reason the calamities and conflicts of the world exist is because God subjected the natural world to futility. God put the natural world under a curse, so that the physical horrors of that curse, of that futility, of that corruption, the physical horrors, disease and death, would become a vivid picture — parable — of the horrors of moral evil, sin. In other words, natural evil exists in the world as a signpost, a parable of the horrors of moral evil.”
So, to get to the Shoofly pie, I have to first eat a big old mud pie with gristle and twigs. The stomach heaves.
So, I can’t get my heart over the line, and my stomach is green and tender and won’t come with. All I’ve got is a package deal and a mind that vacillates. And the imperative that I can’t just lie down, but have to put one more foot forward today.
And another one tomorrow.
And another foot the next. Such is the nature of faith and because we follow him.