“We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 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.”
~Romans 8:22-23 (NRSV).
Some of us are in so much groaning pain regarding life and our situations we dearly cherish this thought above. The redemption of our bodies in death or rapture is keenly desired.
I’m acutely aware of a few friends right now who are in this place—desperate and lost with it all, in spite of their spiritual maturity and the fervency of their faith. Life is dashing them and their loved ones against the rocks just now. Indeed, we can know this is the reality for some at any time of our choosing. It’s a condition of humanity.
Notwithstanding the excruciating pain involved, I have it on good authority—being that masculinity is no authority of its own on the subject—that childbirth is in some ways the same as birthing anything that emanates from the body and compels its way out; for instance, gas, a sneeze, the urge to vomit.
Those are all physical things.
We also have the very same sorts of urges that manifest themselves much more integrally, i.e. spiritually, within us.
There is something missing within all of us. Sure, it’s a ‘God-shaped hole’ as some might like to put it. But there’s more, and this is what the Apostle Paul is probably trying to get at in the above passage.
Life Comes and Exacerbates These Urges
The urges are one thing; the plethora of extraneous pain in life at times is another.
Still, it’s these pains that make our inherent urges that much more burdensome. The more we suffer, the more estranged we feel spiritually—with one important clarification: God is vacant (or seems vacant) in this picture.
Even if God is vibrant in amongst our pain we still feel the pain.
If it’s our children we intercede for, we find ourselves drowning out at sea. A partner is distant and we rock between both our zeal and our laurels and still we do the wrong thing. A workmate is unforgiving about a transgression we made in a weak moment. This is only the beginning... there’s pain everywhere!
God Quelling the Urges
The issuing and erupting of our urges is healing if only we can safely do so.
God is operating in this. As we somehow allow God to minister to us, bringing some relief to our ‘contractions,’ we find our faith is swelling in the fact of plain acceptance: we cannot change the will of one single other person.
We cannot even change how we feel deeply inside. So, in this we just must accept these things, and that’s a process all its own.
Our God is the Deity behind the plan for life. With life skewed since the fall, and pregnancy our tormented hope until the end, we grit our teeth, take our relief and we spill our brief every now and then.
And in all this, God is still good!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.