This morning in his message my pastor shared a story about some friends who have a young daughter. Around the age of two, she was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. As they were dealing with that reality, other diagnoses came taking them down a very uncertain and unpredictable path. His purpose for sharing their story was to illustrate that their shared journey through uncertainty brought them closer to each other and to God.
Theirs is a story of groaning. As parents, they groan. As children of God, they groan. As spouses, they groan. When they choose to groan together, recognize each other’s groaning, they are actively choosing to draw closer together.
Sounds perfectly natural for a couple to do. But you and I both know, that’s not what all couples do. Not all relationships survive such trials. And when you examine similar challenges that a larger group is facing together, the possible response scenarios are multiplied.
- How might responses be chosen if the challenges were seen as “the whole creation groaning”? (See Part 1)
- How might we listen to one another if we viewed other’s words as groaning prayers?
- What if we shared groanings without trying to win?
- What rewards would be received if at least once we chose to listen to another’s groans without demanding they hear ours?
Most likely, all the answers to these questions have a common thread-choosing grace. Grace says, “I hear you. I see you. I’m willing to listen to you. Your groans matter. You are allowed to groan however you want, how loud you want, about whatever you want.”
We are all born groaners. We all have the opportunity to become gracious groaners.
Who is a gracious groaner?
- That person that you know is in pain, but they refuse to suck the life out of the room.
- That person that shares their groans along with the lessons they are learning, the questions they are asking, and the hope they have anchored.
- That person that understands everyone around them also groans and offers the grace they desire to receive.
How did that person nurture such grace? Most likely, they admired someone else with it. Or even better, they grew from being gifted undeserved grace in return for their lack of grace. They received the benefit of shared grace.
More about that in Part 3.