June 4, 2023
Have you noticed the groaning of people lately? Maybe it’s a sign of age, or a sign of much stress, or maybe a sign that we really don’t belong in this world. Notice how much groaning is described in the following passage.
Romans 8:18–26 (ESV) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 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. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
There seems to be groaning from creation, from God’s people, and even from the Holy Spirit as He helps us unload our burdens to God in prayer. Wow! There’s a lot of groaning going on! Let’s break it down.
We can kind of grasp the groaning of creation when we understand the magnitude of the stench of sin in the sight of God. Let’s face it, when sin entered the earth, all creation felt the curse.
Genesis 3:17 (ESV) — 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Psalm 113:5–6 (KJV) — 5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, Who dwelleth on high, 6 Who humbleth himself to behold The things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
We understand the groaning of mankind and especially that of God’s children. Living in a world that is against God in which there are a multitude of stresses, we tend to groan every day, like the children of Israel in bondage.
Exodus 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
Psalm 38:9 (ESV) — 9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Psalm 102:19–20 (ESV) — 19 that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,
When you think of groaning as a longing for something better that we know is ours in the future, then we can appreciate the groans that come forth from God’s people. It’s not just a groaning about the stress of our present condition, we long for a new day upon the resurrection.
2 Corinthians 5:1–4 (ESV) — 1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
Of course, our groans as believers are not just expressions of complaint or just longing, those groans become part of our prayer life as we bring our heavy burdens to God. We do not, however, come by ourselves to God, we have the help of the Holy Spirit, who helps us lift our heavy burdens to God with “groanings that cannot be uttered.” That is a great expression as you think of the indication presented as one of a weightlifter who is lifting a heavy weight and groans as he bears the weight. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit as He helps you lift your burdens to God, the Father. He groans because He’s bearing the brunt of your weighty burden.
There is a lot of groaning going on today and rightly so. May we appreciate each groan that we sense, whether it be from creation – although we may not hear it, we sense it’s there, from believers who know this world is not their home, from ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit reminding us that we have a better place, or from the work of the Holy Spirit as we enjoy His help in taking all our cares to God through prayer. Review the passage above from Romans 8. That’s a lot of groaning.
Bob Brubaker, Pastor