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We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
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We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express... the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
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And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him . . . to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
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Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am convinced that [nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8, excerpts
Now, I don’t mean griping about your in-laws or your laundry or your weight. I’m talking about the kind of groaning God describes in Romans 8 where, along with all creation and with the Holy Spirit Himself, we groan to see how short this world (and our own heart)falls of His perfection and glory. We cry out to God for justice, righteousness, mercy. We long for heaven.
This creation groans under the weight of sin’s relentless curse; it bears thistles and thorns and unthinkable tragedies. And yet, those groanings are compared with the labor pains of childbirth! The pain which feels unbearable at the time is not a senseless one leading to destruction, but a fruitful pain which will bear life and satisfaction and joy.
Christians groan inwardly as we watch sin break God’s world, the same sin that broke Christ upon a splintered cross. And yet, we do not groan without hope! For we long for what has been guaranteed, for the fullness of what we already have in part: God’s sin-demolishing kingdom, fully realized.
Even God Himself groans with us! After all, how can we know what to pray for when we can’t understand so much of what we see? How can we specifically know what God’s will is for a seriously ill family member or an unemployed friend? Speechless, stunned, we cry out for God’s help in even knowing what to pray. And His Spirit intercedes, in perfect knowledge of God’s will!
The day is coming when our groans will give way to great glory. And as we look toward that day, God guarantees us two things: nothing on earth can pull us away from His love, and everything in our lives is designed to shape us to Christ-likeness.
In light of such powerful promises, may our groanings always be for God’s glory alone.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
- Psalm 17:15