An Inward Groan

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Pastor Jeremy Heikkinen

This past weekend I had the opportunity to be the speaker at Word of Life’s Recharge. Little did I know the object lesson that awaited me on Sunday before I spoke. I was going to be speaking from Romans 8:18-25 about waiting with hope during present suffering while groaning inwardly. It sounds like a great theological tower to sit in and pontificate from, right? Well, God had something planned that would help me live out this truth.

I went for a much-anticipated ride on a snowmobile through the beautiful property. The only tracks around me in this winter wonderland were those left behind by the woodland creatures. No footprints, no walking paths, just wide-open fields and pathways through the ravined woods of untouched snow. This is one of my happy places! Upon my return, I decided to go one more lap in a field on the opposite side of the gorge. This was when it happened. I ran out of gas! Yep, the gas gauge was not lying. I had to walk back down the hill, through the gorge, and up the other side to the main property to get gas and then return to the sled. I would be lying if I told you that I did not have an inward groan along the way. It took about 15-20 minutes one way, half of which was in packed snow, almost knee-deep. The only thing that kept me moving at a good pace was that I had to be at a leader’s meeting on time.

Romans 8 is a great section for encouraging those in Christ. Those that are in Christ face no condemnation; they are set free from the law of sin and death and will one day be with God in Heaven. Yet, God’s creation and humanity groan under the weight of living in a sin-cursed world (vs. 22-23). Verse 18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (ESV). This is the faith challenge that Paul is calling the Romans and us to believe. Being a Christian does not mean that we will escape present suffering and inward groaning. It does mean that even in this state, God’s glory outweighs our present groan. God’s glory gives us hope while we wait patiently for the redemption of our bodies.

As I was trudging through the snow, the hope of reaching the snowmobile with what I needed to make it back was what kept me going. I had to switch hands carrying the gas can, remove my jacket and hat, and continue to put one foot in front of the other. But the weight of getting to the destination was greater than the weight that I carried in my hands.

            – Have you run out of gas this week?

            – Have you found it difficult to live with the daily burdens?

            – Have you been overwhelmed by unmet expectations?

It is okay to groan. But don’t just groan; take the faith challenge of God’s outweighing glory in the midst of your groan. What are two things you can be thankful for today? If you cannot come up with any, please read Romans 8:31-39 and record two things from this long description of God’s outweighing glory!

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