About an hour before 20 ladies were to arrive at our home for a bridal shower, my wife noticed dripping water inside our freezer and water leaking from our clothes washer into the basement. These abrupt reminders that we live in a fallen and falling apart world are all too common.
Even Spring days with the smell of flowers, the sound of birds singing, and the sun warming our faces don’t eclipse the groaning created by the necessity of reseeding, replacing, replanting, repairing, and repainting in and around our homes, made obvious after winter.
Many are now suffering emotional anguish from pandemic-induced isolation from loved ones and others grieving their permanent loss. Daily we combat the aches, pains, pressures, and problems of living from which we long to escape. Paul asserts, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Romans 8:22)
Much of life is spent attempting to eliminate inevitable and inescapable groaning. Some use legitimate and appropriate prescription or over-the-counter medications to deaden the pain, reduce anxiety, control allergies, help us sleep, regulate blood pressure, or moderate our mood. Others grapple with their groaning by overindulging in mind-altering substances, personal pleasure, proliferation of possessions, or their favorite cuisine.
God’s Word provides humanity with the only means to cope with and conquer the groaning we hope will go away. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) “Us” refers to “Those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)—in relationship with Christ by means of faith and in whom God’s Spirit dwells. “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him… For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:9b,14) Effective coping and eternal conquering of groaning is possible only for God’s children.
We cope with temporary groaning by focusing on entering glory with God in eternity where our anguish will be absent. “…we groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23b). A believer’s best life is yet to come.
We cannot escape groaning. But we can endure it even as we replace, repair, repaint and relieve pain in anticipation of the day it will be eliminated. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:25)