“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

I like what Paul has to say about the groanings of the Holy Spirit on our behalf. I groan often! Many times I feel out of place in this world. I often feel out of step with what is popular in our culture, as if I were some sort of misfit. And often I feel like a pariah even in my own family! And then there is the suffering, pain, and violence of our world which all evoke further groaning in prayer or on social media.

Now no one likes to undergo suffering, loss and pain but, as we see in these words of Paul, such suffering is part of living in a fallen world. All creation groans for sIn controls the world and the people in it resulting in heartache for everyone. Yet these words of Paul provide comfort to hurting Christians in those times of sickness, suffering and tribulation. Like Isaiah, Paul upholds the truth of God in Christ Jesus as our rock of strength and consolation, a rock which is not available to those who reject Him. What they place their trust in is as weak and useless as the idols and false gods the pagans worshipped in ancient times.

These words of Paul should help believers realize that for the Christian these feelings of being out of tune with the rest of the world are not unusual, nor are they a sign of emotional disorder: they are the norm! This world is not our home. This is why we groan and cry out to the Lord. We are in the world but not of it. We are part of the new creation, the Kingdom of God which is already but not yet. It has arrived in the person and work of Jesus the Savior and King, it is manifest in the Church, imperfectly but still present and active. Yet the Kingdom of God has has not yet taken over the earth. And so we suffer with temptation, sickness, violence, and persecution. If we feel too comfortable and at ease in this world, then we are in danger of lapsing into idolatry. But if we groan and feel uncomfortable, confused and powerless, if we cry out to the Lord daily, we are to rejoice for we are in the Kingdom of God.