Grateful Groaning

On December 30, 2020, I became a statistic—I contracted Covid-19. I spent the next 14 days enduring the nasty effects of this pandemic perpetrator in isolation in our basement. I was thankful that I wasn’t hospitalized, that I survived, and that I gained some perspective.

We know Jesus healed people but not everyone. Why not? At one point His disciples find Jesus alone and tell Him, “Everyone is looking for you.” (Mark 1:37). He responded, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.” (Mark 1:38). Jesus stated His express purpose (“in order that”) was to proclaim, not to perform healing.

Jesus compassionately healed as a demonstration of His power over sickness which is present in our world because of human rebellion against God. Healing people physically didn’t really cure them of their most serious malady, which is rebellion against the Almighty.

Jesus’ larger purpose was to provide the cure for sin that results in disease, disability, and ultimately death. The vaccine for what causes our suffering now and ultimate separation from God was His death on the cross. Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that He gave His old begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) It was His mission to proclaim the cure. The flawless Son of God suffered in the place of fallen humans taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve so that all who believe in Him—personally accept His death in our place—will be made right with God and have eternal life.

Isolation in my “Covid cave” reminded me “that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth…” (Romans 8:22) Birds struggle to find food in winter. People are lonely, fearful, and discouraged. We get sick, stuff breaks, our bodies ache, and the stock market tanks.

In our groaning, those who trust in Jesus can be grateful if we are gripped by the reality that our best life is NOT now. “…but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23) There is a future glory to be revealed to believers in God’s presence to which “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared.” (Romans 8:18).

Our present groaning exposes our frailty resulting in either griping or gratitude. Griping if we’re demanding a life free of suffering. Gratitude if we’re expecting the best is yet to come.

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