The Groaning Trio

Bible Reading: Romans 8

Romans 8:22, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

Romans 8:23, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Romans 8:26, “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.”

We were on a family vacation to Seaside, Oregon.  The whole family was having a fine time in a home we had rented for the weekend.  But on the morning of the second day, I started feeling bad.  The pain gradually increased to where I asked my son-in-law nurse about it.  Eventually, as the pain continued to escalate, we decided to make our way to the local hospital.  Imaging tests revealed a large kidney stone which was unsuccessfully attempting to make its way through my urinary tract.  They medicated me and sent me home.  I was okay for that day and the next, but when the pain subsequently returned, it was so severe I was literally rolling on the floor and moaning and groaning for relief.  That’s the basic idea behind the word as it is used here.  In fact, groaning is analogized to the pains of childbirth. 

The Greek term speaks to the utterances of a person, verbalized or not, who is caught in a difficult situation with no immediate prospect of deliverance.  We groan, for example, when we are required to lift and hold a weighty object for an extended time.  We groan when we are distressed, as we look and yearn for relief from our burden—whatever that might be.  The groaning spoken of in this passage is associated with “suffering.”  We yearn for release from the burden of sin and its consequence (Romans 7:24).

Our passage speaks to a trio which is presently groaning– all of creation, believers, and the Holy Spirit.  All three are said to be groaning in anticipation of something which lies in the future.  You groan now in the earthly tent which is your body, yearning for release.  But thankfully, you are not alone in your groaning!  Indeed, all of creation is singing that same woeful song with you.  It too, was subjected to corruption.  Because of sin, creation has been subjected to futility, and yearns for a glorious future.  The Holy Spirit is likewise groaning, in His prayers, as He intercedes on your behalf according to the will of God. 

Listen carefully, hear that groaning—in creation, in your own body, in the Spirit which indwells you?  What is the theme of their groaning melody?  Is it not that things are not as they should be?  We are burdened under the weight of sin’s corruption, longing for the day when we will be set free.  The groaning reminds us that the permanent release from our present sufferings can only be ours in the redemption of our bodies.  So we fix our hope on that glorious day!

Octavius Winslow has commented on this: “But, oh, there is music in the groaning of those who have the “first-fruits of the Spirit!” The chain they wear is not the manacle of a slave of sin, shaking his galling fetters in deep and dark despair. The captivity that confines him, is not the subjection of a voluntary vassal of Satan, crouching beneath the burden, and trembling at the lash of a hard task master. Oh, no! it is the sensibility, the consciousness, the groaning of the Christian. It tells of the Spirit’s indwelling. It betokens the hope of glory. Those inward heavings of the soul are the pantings of a life divine; those deep groanings of the heart are the muffled chimings of heaven. They are the indices of a nature which God will before long lift to its native home; they are the discordant notes of an anthem, which soon will fill heaven with its swelling and entrancing music.”


Christ is coming! Let creation
from her groans and travail cease;
let the glorious proclamation
hope restore and faith increase:
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Come, thou blessed Prince of Peace.

Earth can now but tell the story
of thy bitter cross and pain;
she shall yet behold thy glory,
when thou comest back to reign:
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Let each heart repeat the strain.

Long thine exiles have been pining,
far from rest, and home, and thee:
but, in heav’nly vestures shining,
they their loving Lord shall see:
Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Haste the joyous jubilee.

With that blessed hope before us,
let no harp remain unstrung;
let the mighty advent chorus
onward roll from tongue to tongue:
“Christ is coming! Christ is coming!
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come!”

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: