The nurse stood at the foot of my bed whispering, “I don’t know
what else to do,” as she and my husband discussed why the delivery
of our first child was not progressing.
“I can hear you!” I wanted to yell, but didn’t have the energy. Or
the will. I was done. In my heavily medicated state, I thought she
meant I would not be delivering at all. Ever. That the groans and
labor pains were not leading to anything better. That suffering had
no purpose and I’d be nine months pregnant for the rest of my life.
Despite my delirium and the nurse continuing to process her
frustrations aloud, we successfully delivered a healthy baby girl
together several hours later.
Scripture says that creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time (vv. 22-23). We know that a resolution to labor and childbirth will come soon. (Not always soon enough! But soon.) And we pray that resolution will be healthy and joyous. But sometimes in life, our groaning feels indefinite when it concerns health, finances, circumstances, relationships. As if we’re in the pains of a childbirth and don’t know if or when relief will come.
Last summer our church offered a Bible study called “It’s Not
Supposed to be This Way.” Eighty people signed up, since the title
seems to say it all. Life often looks quite different from what we
hoped or expected.
Paul tells us that the Spirit of hope is ours. We will be freed from
the bondage of decay. As we wait for that day, perhaps the groans
themselves can remind us that God continues to labor with us, in
ways we have yet to see. Such labor is never in vain.
What areas of your life need a reminder of God’s hope? What assures you that your groaning does not go unheard and that God walks beside you?
Holy God, waiting patiently is hard for us, especially when we are in pain. You see the whole of our lives. Help us learn to trust in your care. Amen.