Servants of God,
“…we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
What makes you groan? Proverbs 29:2 teaches us that when the wicked are in power, the people groan. The Apostle Paul clearly understood groaning had its place in the Christian life. I find myself groaning inwardly a lot. I suspect I am not alone. When I think of how coarse and crude our culture has become, I groan. When I think about the financial burden my grandchildren will inherit from our nation’s 23 trillion- dollar deficit, I groan. When I look at the birth-rate map of the United States and see only two states (Utah and North Dakota) producing enough babies to replace current population, I groan. When I hear of state governments passing laws allowing for abortion to the moment of birth and infanticide after, I groan. It is a challenge for believers to live in our time and to maintain our spiritual balance and our zeal for the spread of the gospel. Only the gospel offers true hope for our time.
It's OK to groan; it is not ok to despair. This is our time. God has given us life here and now, and we must rejoice and live to God’s glory and for the good of our neighbors today. Having said that, I allow that this is easy to say and more difficult to practice.
Have you considered that it is a good sign that you find certain evil realities ugly, distasteful and abhorrent? You do that because God’s Spirit lives within you and you know that these things dishonor God and hurt human beings. School shootings and sexual abuse should make you groan.
Some things should turn your stomach. Some things should make you angry. Some things should make you weep. But these things should also motivate you to spread truth and to practice righteousness. They should cause you to fight for the glory of God.
Let’s take the issue of birthrate in America. It should make us very sad that Americans have bought the lie that children are too expensive and too much trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no greater asset than a child. God’s command to be fruitful and multiply has never been rescinded. Proper care and stewardship of this planet depends upon human stewardship of all its beauty and productivity. The earth needs responsible, God-honoring inhabitants. Christians must think biblically about children and about their potential to honor God and bring him glory.
Christians must realize that we can only rightly understand the issues of our day through the lens of an eternal perspective. The Bible is God’s gift to us because it teaches us to see life from God’s viewpoint. In the pages of Scripture, we learn that the universe belongs to God and that earth and the people of the earth have a special place in God’s glorious scheme of life. Problems, heartaches, failure and tragedy must always be understood as under the providential care and guidance of God. Sin is real, terrible and painful. But God has made a way for us to live in our time with both hope and confidence.
We still groan because sin is ugly, God-dishonoring and destructive, but we know that Christ’s death, burial and resurrection has made it possible for humans to live victoriously amid evil and suffering. We also know that virtue is its own reward. Telling truth is always the best way to live. Believing that children are a blessing and a gift from God is always right. Reaching out to help and encourage and rescue the perishing and care for the dying always honors our redeeming God.
It is OK to groan, but it is not ok to lose heart. If we have life and breath, there is work for us to do in the power of the Spirit according to the Word of God. We are longing for a better place. A city made without hands is our final home and our faithful God has placed us here and now to occupy and to have dominion until He comes to make all things new.