Scripture: Romans 8:22-27
This morning I woke up with a groan. I stayed up to late talking with people from church. Now I’m not complaining about the conversations I had, I would have those every night. I just really do not like mornings. My great grandpa was a morning person, my grandpa is a morning person, but I seems to have stopped there. I think it has something to do with working night shifts.
Well back to the point. I groaned when I got up. I did not want to be awake, and work was the farthest from my mind. I’m sure some of you out there understand this groaning, maybe it is not mornings for you but being required to stay up later than normal or something else. Our bodies groan, when they are required to do things that are out of the norm.
Paul is saying all of creation groans. It is in pain, it is annoyed and in discomfort. Have you ever really thought about what that means? Really have not, until I had to start moving furniture at my job today. I was groaning when I woke up and I groaned when I was working. I groaned…it was not exactly they kind of day I would normally use as a highlight to my faith and devotion in Christ. We are to be joyous at work, working as if it is for God not a major retailer. Well usually I try but today I was not in the mood, it was a day of groaning.
I was groaning because I really did not want to be where I was doing what I was doing. I had a number of things I would rather do. Can you imagine the earth groaning, our community groaning, our nation groaning becaue of the stress put upon it? It is hard to go to work many days because I am one of those people the news talks about as being under employed, at least in my own mind. Often we all have to apply effort just to be professional and respectful at our jobs. It takes a lot of disipline.
We complain sometimes because we do not know the larger picture. If we all understood the larger picture we may be able to approach life with less groaning. So what is the big picture? Redemption.
The earth groans, creation groans, and our communities groan they are all crying out for that unseen hope. Imagine if we were to live our lives telling of the bigger picture. How much better would we be able to drive into work if we realized that it was not only a job, but a chance to encourge someone to get a glimpse of the unseen. What if our farming friends were to speak to the earth and let it know that the produce that it will grow will assist us in sharing the hope of redemption. What if a construction worker were to sing praises to God around the beams and boards used to build the places of business letting the building know that it has a place in the greater story in bringing about redemption.
I realize that many of these things are inanimate, but a misplaced perspective is the problem. We live around many people an things we relate to them. I’m sure all of you have had conversations with your computer or car. Everything is participating in a story unfolding before our eyes. Some have roles others are props each is important and each is in the same state groaning for the fulfillment of time. If we try to adjust our perspective we will begin to see the plot in a different light.
To look at things and people from different perspectives takes energy and time, it can become difficult in the long term and many will fall back into the groaning instead of praising. The good thing is God knows our condition. He lived in our human bodies has seen the world He created through human eyes, has smelled what we smell, and has tasted what we taste. He knows why we groan and at times I’m sure He would agree, that the tastes and smells fom my cooking are groan worthy. He knows and understands and He gives us help when we are open to receive it. It is amazing to me to think that as I reflected on this passage today that the groans did seem to fall away, maybe it was the coke I drank, but I think it was more. The perspective was changing. I was not just moving the boxed furniture to sell, but participating in the improvment of someone’s home, I was participating in the livelihood of my coworkers, I was contributing to the improvement of my community. And then I was able to praise instead of groan.
As you pray, think about the things that make you groan and I encourage you to attempt to look at from a diferent point of view. What changes when from that perspective, are things worse or better, do you see a place to improve or is it just pointless, is there hope or is it hopeless. As you do this let the Spirit of God move you in to praise.