Groaning comes naturally to us all. There always seems to be something to complain about, something that causes us to groan. Mostly it is things we look back to longingly. With the current impact of the pandemic our natural predisposition to groan is magnified.
We groan because things are not like they were. We groan that we cannot meet up with people like we used to; travel freely like we used to; live the lives we used to live.
As we get older, we groan because we can’t bend as we used to, remember things as we used to. We groan because things are not as good as they were, we long for the good old days. As is often said youth is wasted on the young.
Groaning is not a bad thing. It is part of what it means to be human. It is also part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It is a consequence of being filled with the Spirit! However Christian groaning is different from much of our natural groaning. We do not groan looking backwards but forwards. We do not groan because things are not like they used to be but because they are not like they will be. Christian groaning is even a type of Spirit inspired prayer as we long for the future to burst into the present!
As Paul says in Romans 8.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies………..
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
May we cultivate healthy groaning as we long for the future rather than the past.