God has prepared great things for his people
18 During this time now, we have troubles and pain. But I am sure that these troubles are not really very great. One day God will show us all the great things he has prepared for us. That will make the troubles that we have now seem very small. 19 The whole universe that God has made now waits for something great to happen. Everything is waiting with hope to find out who God's children really are.
20 God has caused everything in the universe to lose its purpose. It did not choose to be like that. It was God who decided that it should be like that. Then it could hope for something better in a future time. 21 At that time, the universe will not continue to become worse and worse, as it does now. It will become free from that power. It will be free to enjoy great things from God, as God's children are also free.
22 We know that everything in the universe is still in great pain now. Everything cries together in pain, like a woman who is ready to have a baby. 23 It is the same for us who are believers. We have received God's Spirit as the first of his gifts to us, but we also cry inside ourselves. We are waiting for the time when God will finish his great work. Then we will belong to him completely as his children. Our bodies will be free from the power of sin.
24 Ever since God saved us, we have continued to wait for this to happen. One day, we will receive what we have hoped for. Then we will not need to hope for it any more. Nobody continues to hope for something that he has already. 25 But we continue to hope for what we do not yet see. And so, we wait for it patiently.
26 God's Spirit also helps us to do this. Because we are weak, we do not know how we ought to pray. But God's Spirit himself prays for us. He cries to God on our behalf in a way that nobody could say with words. 27 God sees deep inside us, and he knows our thoughts. He understands what is in the mind of his Spirit. When the Holy Spirit prays on behalf of God's people, he prays as God wants him to pray.
28 We know that God works to help those people who love him. He uses everything that happens to them to bring something good. He does this for those people that he has chosen to serve him. 29 God already had those people in his thoughts from the beginning. He decided that they should become like his Son. So then, his Son would have many younger brothers and sisters. 30 God had already chosen those people to be his children. Because of that, he called them to come to him. He accepted those people as right with himself. And those that he accepted, he also caused them to become great.