For the Groaners

This little meditation is for the groaners: people whose hearts are aching, whose bodies don’t work, whose mental and emotional habits don’t match up with their heart’s desire. God is groaning with you.

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as children, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what one already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:23-5

Hoping for what Jesus promises is exercising faith. Waiting patiently for what one does not have is exercising faith. Groaning inwardly (and outwardly, where it is welcomed) is inevitable. I’d say groaning is downright therapeutic. When people tell you to stop whining (more likely when you tell yourself to stop whining) check to see if you are being too impatient, but also check to see if the Spirit of God is in you, making a promise of better things to come, and you want those things so much it makes you groan with desire and anticipation.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-7

Sometimes, being at a loss for words is exercising faith. Not knowing how to pray and knowing one doesn’t know is exercising faith. Being poor in spirit leaves a lot of room to be rich in Spirit. The Spirit of God is “groaning” in us, longing even more deeply than we do for our redemption. The Spirit of God knows what you know about yourself and knows what you don’t know; all of you is connected with God’s loving heart. When you feel your worst, when you have groaned so much you don’t want to groan any more, give up and let the Spirit groan for you and trust yourself to God’s good will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

None of these thoughts are too new, perhaps. What is new is this day. It might be a day when the pain has not gone away. We might hide our pain from an unsympathetic world who seem to think we just need to get over it. But we can’t hide it from God, who has always cared, and who showed his care so completely by entering our pain and sin and even death in Jesus. His desire was and is to work for our good. He is calling you into good. He is at work, your spirit to his Spirit. This day is also a new day to hope in that.

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