We all groan. We all feel that tension inside of us that something is not right. We feel it deep, down past the ligaments, joints and marrow of our physiology, straight into the depths of our soul. We know something is wrong, and we know it needs to be fixed. Groaning surfaces in several different ways. It could be the fear of being alone and single, the anxiety of the overwhelming responsibilities and pressures, the tension of culture changing and the uncertainty of the future. Restlessness, sleepless nights, daytime fatigue, depression, sadness, etc. All are evidences of groaning. And groaning is not exclusive to humanity only. A quick glance at the world around us and we see that the rest of created world groans along side of us. Plants die, animals eat other, species become extinct, land masses erode and wither away. We, all of us, including creation, groan loudly, frequently, and desperately daily.
Is there any hope in our groaning? I believe so. I believe that the event of our groaning is actually used my our sovereign God as gracious reminders about who we are and who He is.
1. Your groaning reminds you that this is not your home
“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,” 2 Corinthians 5:2 ESV
Our groaning is a reminder that the earth as we know it is not our home. As believers, we are nomads on foreign soil, everyday pitching our tent as we move further and further towards our face-to-face with our Heavenly Father. It is all too common to become complacent with life here in a fallen world. But our groaning is a wake-up call to action to remember to be sober-minded and vigilant (1 Pet. 1:13) because the earth and heaven meant for us has not come yet but will be here soon and very soon (Rev 21:1). That reminder frees us up from the entanglements in this life to pursue the lost with truth and love and run this race, laying aside all unnecessary weight (Heb. 12:1). We are to glorify God and love others, not to become attached to perishable things that with one day be dust.
2. Your groaning reminds you that you need God
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”2 Corinthians 12:8-9 ESV
Paul, a man who was given actual visions of Heaven, pleaded 3 times for the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh. And the Lord’s answer was to remind Paul that He needed God more than He needed that thorn removed. It was in the event of the thorn weakening him that Paul was able to see God as powerful. God used Paul’s groaning to remind Paul he needed God. Our groaning is used similarly. It’s a reminder that we are fragile jars of clay that, if not for the marvelous grace of God, would be crushed under the pressures of life (2 Cor. 4:7). Instead of sending us to despair, our groaning should send us to foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. It is there in the presence of the Lamb, worthy to take away the sins of world, that we are reminded of sacrifice made on our behalf because we could not save ourselves. Our groaning is a reminder that everyday salvation is a continuous show of undeserved, but oh so needed grace.
3. Your groaning reminds you that there is better to come
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:22-23 ESV
Our groaning is beautiful reminder that for those who believe in Christ for salvation that there is better to come. It’s a sure and definite promise from a God who does not lie, but has fulfilled all his promises is Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20). Through Christ, we have gained something so powerful and beautiful that dwelling upon it makes life bearable, even joyful: we are called sons. Christ, through the triumph over death and sin, and through the resurrection, has extended the ability to be called sons and daughters of God. Those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior are adopted into the family of God. And the inheritance for God’s kids is life eternal with Him and complete restoration from the inside-out. In the life to come, death will no longer be; depression will not exist; anxiety will be but a memory; loneliness will not be invited. There is a day coming for the believer where the trouble of this world will be no more, and only the shalom of God will be the atmosphere we breathe. That day is coming, believer. But it is not here yet. And so, we groan. But we groan in hope. We groan in promises. We groan with expectation. We are reminded that our groaning will one day be turned into joy and laughter; and that reminder should even provide joy here and now. For the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross (Heb. 12:2). Our future joy eclipses our current groaning. It does not make the groaning any less painful or real or troubling. But, dwelling on future joy helps us to remember why we are here, who our God is, where all this is headed for the believer. So pray, plead, and groan; and know, He is coming.