Do you hear the world groaning? It’s faint, easily drowned out by the business and busy-ness of our lives. Truth be told, I think we often do our best to ignore the groaning when we do hear it. We want to pretend like it’s not happening or that it’s a figment of our imagination. But that’s also because when the world starts groaning around us, it means that we’re most likely going to get hurt. Sometimes badly.
Do you hear the world’s groaning? We catch its echo on the evening news, as stories play about famines and droughts in distant lands. We hear the groaning underneath the rumble of earthquakes that destroy and kill, above the howl of windstorm and tornado, threaded through the crash of tsunami.
Have you heard the world groan? We feel it deep within us when we encounter the world’s wrongness. When we see something that we know isn’t right deep within our core, we feel the resonance of the world’s groaning. Injustice, pain, sickness, disaster, death, each weaves together to create that toxic chord that sickens and strangles us.
Is your world groaning even now? It has since the dawn of time, and it’s not the world’s fault. As Paul puts it:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now…
But the creation doesn’t groan alone. We groan with it.
…and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Yes, creation groans. But it will not do so forever. The cure for its groaning state has come and will come. Blessed relief for the world’s groaning and ours too. The creation waits for that greater day. And so do we. And it is that waiting that allows us to live in the midst of groaning:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
The world’s groaning will one day be hushed. Our souls will know peace.
But e’en so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.