Groaning has the connotation of complaining. We groan when we get out of bed in the morning. We groan when we have to do something that we don’t like to do. We groan at bad jokes, when our team loses, or when we hear bad news. We also groan when there are no words left to adequately express our suffering.
When circumstances in life become too overbearing and we feel that we have reached our breaking point to endure, the Lord calls us to pray to him. He understands our groans. He applies words to our sighs and groans when there are no words left to form in our hearts and mind. During those times of intense suffering, our groans seems to reach even further into the depths of our soul.
It may be comforting to know that when we groan, we are not alone. All of creation groans with us.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:22-23)
The whole creation is experiencing pain like a woman experiencing pain during childbirth. Yet, even for a woman, she knows that the pangs of childbirth are only temporary. There will be great, inexpressible joy when that child is brought to life. Right now, our world is in the throes of childbirth groaning with anticipation until that child arrives. There will be inexpressible joy when Christ comes again in power and glory. In the meantime, we wait and suffer with patient endurance until that great day comes.
To help us endure, the Lord has given us a down-payment, the “first fruits of the Spirit.” The power of the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to patiently wait and remain in the faith until that day when we receive payment in full. It is then that we receive our inheritance as a result of being adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Faith receives this promise and trusts that it will be true. Hope becomes that beacon of light in a dark world that all will be well and that anything we experience in this life will just be temporary.
God welcomes our groans. He understands our predicament. He wants us to know that he is working out all things for our good and that something infinitely better awaits.