Creation standing on tiptoe: “Deepening the Faith” devotional 10

This installment is part of a regular devotional series, “Deepening the Faith,” written by Gordon faculty and staff for the enrichment of the wider College community.

In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God! —Romans 8:18-21

I grew up listening to my father preach from the Phillips translation of the Bible. One of my favorite passages was in Romans 8 with its image of the entire creation standing on tiptoe, waiting and yearning for all of humanity to come into their fullness in Christ. Because I loved these verses, I would often sing the Fisherfolk song “On Tiptoe,” which words went:

“I walk with you my children,
Through valleys filled with gloom;
In echoes of the starlight and shadows of the moon.
In the whispers of the night-wind are gentle words for you
To touch you and assure you,
It’s my world you’re walking through.
And all creation’s straining on tip-toe just to see,
The sons of God, come into their own.

If life were filled with bubbles, they’d glisten and they’d burst,
If life were filled with jewels, they’d line a rich man’s purse,
But life is filled with water, which flows from depths of love
for you and all your children, with blessings from above.”

I wonder if this verse, in this particular translation and song, with its vision of creation as a blessing from above, have shaped my scholarly life. As a geographer, my scholarly work has always come back to the essential theological questions raised in Romans 8: What is the connection between the fallen nature of humankind and this yearning of creation to be set free? And what is God’s hope for the entirety of creation along with humanity? In this era, when we face the global challenge of climate change with its many impacts, particularly on the poor of the developing world and the creatures facing changing habitats, I come back to this Scripture which reminds me to join God in his work at sustaining us, the creation. Meanwhile I await that day when all humanity and all of creation shall come into their fullness. Shalom—being at peace with God, with each other and with the creation. I continue to stand on tiptoe.

Janel Curry
Dr. Janel Curry has served as provost at Gordon College since the fall of 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota and came to Gordon from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she served as both a faculty member and an administrator for 16 years. The topics of her research and publications draw on her international experience and range from issues of environmental management to the liberal arts in a global context. Her most recent book, Reading Hong Kong, Reading Ourselves, addresses the topic of cross-cultural learning, which is built upon her assignment working as a Fulbright Scholar in Hong Kong in 2010 and as a visiting scholar in 2012. Janel has provided leadership in discussions related to women in leadership within the evangelical community through her research on the Women in Leadership project, essays and publications, and workshops focused on promoting best practices.