Groanings of the Spirit
Written By: AnneMarie Hoopes
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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 to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
- Romans 8:22-25 NIV
Have you ever felt challenged to remain hopeful during a time when you were experiencing a groaning or suffering occasion in your life? For many of us who have witnessed groaning or suffering, it has caused us to ask the Lord, “Why me?” But in times of trial, a more significant question to ask God is, “Lord, what are You asking me to believe in this season of my life?” Or, “What should I believe about You, about me, about those in my life, and about the different areas of my life?” These types of questions allow us to have a personal relationship with Christ and to encounter His goodness.
In Romans 8 verses 22 and 23, Paul uses the word “groaning” to explain how we as Christians share a “present time” desire for God’s hope of deliverance. In other words, because we are God’s creation, together we share a unifying anticipation of the hope of Jesus coming back and us getting to live an eternal life with Him in heaven (Romans 8:23 NIV). Additionally, the Bible reminds us that Jesus also experienced numerous “groaning” occasions when He lived on Earth and when He sought the Holy Spirit and God’s will for Him. A specific occasion where He endured “groaning” was when He endured physical pain while He was nailed to the cross. Jesus’ pain was very real and His sacrifice gave us a glimpse of what His heart looked like. It also demonstrated what hope looked like for humanity before His final death and resurrection.
Though our lives continue to be characterized by struggles and sufferings, God has given us the Holy Spirit and scripture tells us that when we accept Jesus, we “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:14 NIV). Additionally, the Holy Spirit provides us new hope, comforts our souls, and it allows for us to live patiently as we wait for our entrance into God’s Kingdom. The Holy Spirit’s fruits also allow for us to grow inwardly, gradually, and spiritually in accordance to God’s will.
Too often do we become distracted by the world and it forces us to lose sight of God’s goodness. However, 2 Corinthians 5:7 explains “For we live by believing and not by seeing” NIV), and Paul reminds us that in order for us to keep the right kind of faith, we need to walk by faith and not by sight. We can rest knowing that through Christ’s death and resurrection, our redemption means hope for the whole creation, "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” NIV).
1. What does “redemption” mean?
2. What can you do to continually be obedient to the Holy Spirit's guiding?
Heavenly Father, please help us to grow more in our relationship with You. Please give us true hope and wisdom so that we can continue to walk with You and share Your truth with others. Thank You for comforting us in our moments of groaning and suffering, and for giving the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we communicate with You and experience Your love. In Jesus’ holy and precious name, Amen.
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