The Rest of The Way Posts

MEANWHILE, WE GROAN
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 by Leona Choy

Many people are groaning during the struggles, isolation, confusion, upsidedownness of all we have known prior to the present Corona virus pandemic—and because we can't see any light at the end of the tunnel yet.

What is a groan? We all know: “A low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief; a guttural, almost inarticulate sound; a deep sighing due to a sudden or prolonged overburdening, as with a great weight or pressure,” defines the dictionary. That describes how we sometimes feel in our mortal bodies, these temporary buildings or tents, due to our limitations and weaknesses and helpless feelings. Our burdens grow heavy and hopeless especially when we are the ones society is pointing out as “vulnerables.”

According to 2 Corinthians chapters 4 and 5, some of the conditions which can cause us to groan:

“afflicted in every way (hedged in, pressed on every side)

perplexed (confused, troubled and oppressed)

suffer embarrassments

unable to find a way out

persecuted (hard driven, pursued)

struck down (to the ground)

death (actively working in us)

earthly tent being torn down, destroyed, dissolved

being burdened

our outer man (progressively decaying and wasting away)”

With how many of those situations can we identify? Add to the scenario the deaths of friends and family, economic uncertainty and fear of the unknown. There is a time to bear our suffering silently, enduring and persevering through the trials. There are also times when to “groan” and express our feelings helps to release our inward suffering. That is not the same as complaining.

Doesn’t the Holy Spirit Himself groan with too-deep-for-words sounds as He intercedes for us? (Romans 8:26-28) He hears and understands our groaning. The Spirit carries our often ill-formed and misdirected, and self-focused prayers directly to the Father through Jesus. But before they reach God, the Spirit shapes up our prayers and groans to be acceptable to the Father's will. In Gethsemane Jesus must have groaned with the agony of anticipation of the trials and intense pain that was ahead of Him. His body was flesh like ours. His sweat was like drops of blood. He knew how physically helpless He would be when nailed to the cross enduring the most excruciating pain with the inability to move.

Despite our groaning, the apostle Paul declared:

we “don’t lose heart” or “become discouraged, utterly spiritless, exhausted, despondent with fear, faint with weariness...” (Eph. 3:13; Gal. 6:9; 2 Cor. 4:16).

Whatever the trials or afflictions, Paul testifies, we are not:

“overcome or crushed

driven to despair

deserted to stand alone

struck out and destroyed”

On the optimistic side:

“the life of Jesus is manifested through us

our inner self is being (progressively) renewed day after day

we have from God a building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Paul experienced what he wrote above. He had many groaning opportunities. He was often forced to “shelter-in-place” in prisons and under house arrest. He turned them into occasions for rejoicing instead of a pity party. He was most productive when under chains, writing his most powerful letters under those conditions which encourage us even today.

If we find ourselves in a groaning situation, let's take courage and instead of impatiently demanding,“When can we get out of here?” continually draw on God's strength asking, “What is it that God wants to teach us while we are in these straits?” There's never a day or a night when we don’t need to lean hard on Him.

Let's press even closer to God in our groaning times, knowing He is embracing us to Himself. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. It's really okay to groan while trusting the Lord to complete in us and through us His plan for these trying times.

 


Comments

Dottie From Danbury At 4/28/2020 10:00:13 AM

Sal, swimming upstream is hard. Let us all swim together with a hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water....(love that song!)

Reply by: Leona Choy

Youbetcha it's hard--the dailyness of the struggle. Yes, BETTER TOGETHER and hand in hand over those troubled waters. Praise God for the Water-Walker.

Dottie From Danbury At 4/28/2020 10:00:12 AM

Sal, swimming upstream is hard. Let us all swim together with a hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water....(love that song!)

Reply by: Leona Choy

This is a duplicate comment. Is it unintentional? I love you intentionanally and welcome the opportunity to do so.

yvonne From California At 4/23/2020 6:06:43 PM

These are times when by 'meself' to search within and find the chance to really stop, talk to God with confidence. Not a selfishness for ego building but an honest look into my gift or lot given to me. I must ask where He wants me, not what I want. To receive is to give all to the Lord.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Yvonne, "the lot given to you" --Psalm 16:5-11 is for you today. Comprehensive/intensive care of the Lord for your body, mind, soul and spirit.This is a treasure of comfort and truth for your present circumstances. Keep trusting in the Lord.

Linda Ann Fumea From Florida At 4/23/2020 5:16:44 PM

Exodus 2:23 is a great example of groaning. "... and the children of Israel sighed by reason of their bondage ... and their cry came up unto God ... " For almost 40 years Israel sighed, cried [groaned] before God, what happened? He sent a Deliverer! Hallelujah!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Thank you for those relevant verses and for the Spurgeon quote which I have forwarded to targeted people. I appreciate the writings you send.

Joyce From Ohio At 4/23/2020 9:42:31 AM

Yes! What a time to draw near to God with groans and prayers and praise and thanksgiving. Good focus thank you.

Reply by: Leona Choy

In the future people will ask "Where were you when...?" referring to our present sheltering-in-place. Let's redeem the time fully so that we will remember it as the time when we soaked in quiet and learned to listen to the voice of God.

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