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Grieve like a young bride dressed in sackcloth wailing over her betrothed! The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from YHWH’s Temple. The pastures are desolate and the land mourns, for the grain has been destroyed, the new wine has dried up, and the olive oil is but a trickle.
Seeds shrivel under clods of dirt, and granaries stand desolate. Barns are torn down for lack of use – no more harvests! How the animals moan! The cattle wander aimlessly for lack of pastures. Even the flocks of sheep are suffering I cry to you, YHWH; Fires devoured the pastures in the wilderness and the trees in the fields have gone up in flames! Even the wild animals cry to you for the streams have dried up, and fires have destroyed the wilderness pastures.
Indeed, I consider the sufferings of the present to be nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed in us. All creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God. Creation was subjected to transience and futility, not of its own accord, but because of the One who subjected it – in the hope that creation itself would be freed from its slavery to corruption and would come to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that from the beginning until now, all of creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth. And not only creation, but all of us who possess the firstfruits of the Spirit – we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; why does one hope for what one sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance. The Spirit, too, comes to help us in our weakness. For we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit expresses our plea with groanings too deep for words. And God, who knows everything in our hearts, knows perfectly well what the Spirit is saying, because Her intercessions for God’s holy people are made according to the mind of God.