I have a black Labrador Retriever who is now thirteen and I have learned that this age brings with it the groans. He never groaned before; however, this new season of life has me wondering what all the groans mean so that I can address it accordingly. Now the Bible talks about groans too. In Romans 8:23-24 we read: “And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. For this is the hope of our salvation. But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have” (TPT)? This passage notes that yes, Creation groans. But not just Creation; we too groan.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear tons of groaning. I will admit I have groaned from time to time because as you get older, the groans increase because your joints aren’t like they were when young. This groaning is different. This is an inward groan. It’s not a groan you hear. It’s the realization and coping with the fact that we were made for more than this sinful place we are currently living. We are groaning because we are waiting for the day when all is made right. We are groaning inwardly because our bodies and our souls know that we are not where we are supposed to be in this present world. The world is broken and chaotic, not the perfect shalom God created. We groan because we crave the shalom, we crave Him.
Even though this is an inward groan that won’t be audible to others, our words and our actions may speak to these groans. We may be disgusted by the things we see in this world. I know from personal experience, as I see people buying Satan shoes, people believing lies, the sexualization of everything, and the worship of money and people, I am disgusted. I am angry. I am upset. I am grieving. There is some inward groaning from these things and more. Even so, these inward groans will flow out. Through my actions and my words, you will see and hear the groan. We each are this way. Everything flows from the heart and if you have a heart for God, that will show with the outpourings of your life.
The real thing to ask then is what does this inward groan look like when it overflows into your words and deeds? As we get so enraged by what we see happening in this world, how do we react? How do YOU react? Do we react in love with grace and truth? Or do we tried to call down flames like John and James? Remember, the Samaritans rejected Jesus and the disciples wanted fire to come down from heaven to destroy (Luke 9:54). Yet, Jesus did not want that happening. He didn’t support fire coming down. Yet we often see this happening around us; people are basically reacting in this way when witnessing the chaos of this world. You don’t have to go far to see it. If you think you haven’t been privy to it, spend a few minutes on social media.
How does this type of reaction fit with our call to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people? Have you noticed you also have had some quick reactions that aren’t necessarily the best reactions? Do you remember a time when maybe you said or did something like John and James, and ended up causing more chaos in your attempts to stand up for Jesus? Remember, we are seed planters. We aren’t meant to save the world. We already have a Savior. Pray about how you inwardly groan. Ask the Spirit to help you groan for God’s glory. Jesus went through all of your frustrations and He always reacted in love with grace and truth. May we do the same.