There it goes again. Another bit of sad/bad difficult news that already is adding to my soul burden. I find myself letting out a big sigh and maybe even a groan or two as I process the information. How about you? A family member with relationship issues, bad diagnosis from the doctor, the struggle of discernment between truth and distortion in the news–all can lead to a sense of overwhelming burden and care. Reading Romans 8:26,27 this morning was so comforting and reassuring to remind us of how we have the Holy Spirit who not only understands our groanings and sighings, but comes along side us to help us in those moments.
Groan: a low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief. Science tells us that the act of groaning actually is a primal way of releasing stress. It stimulates the part of your brain that helps assess whether you are safe or not. When people are in intense physical pain they often moan and groan–scientific studies have shown people tolerate pain longer if they are able to moan. It is interesting that there are several scriptures refer to the groanings and moans that women make in labor–often a coping mechanism to work through the intensity of childbirth, which means that sometimes we groan and moan while we are producing good fruit!
Sigh: to let out one’s breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness, or relief Sighing also has a physical benefit. Many times when we hear difficult news we unconsciously hold our breath, and sighing is a way our body gets rid of any excess CO2 and the deep breath after helps us take in more oxygen. The good news is Isaiah 51:11 tells us that there will come a day when the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away! (ESV)
I think in our present season of Covid and violence, I find myself groaning and sighing much more often. I have heard many people (believers and unbelievers a like) responding to difficult news with “OH God”. Even people who don’t give Him a thought seem to without a thought, call on His Name! Thinking on how He helps us (remember He doesn’t replace our prayers, He helps us with them), I thought that initial response is to remind us that our God is present! He wants to help us turn to Him. To help us look up and out from those circumstances that would seek to crush us.
When I begin to move from the moans and groans to actual words in prayer, I find the Holy Spirit actually leading me from honest overwhelming words of to words of hope and solution finding. It is almost like He maps out a journey as I keep praying and leads me from the wilderness towards the promised land. Often my cloudy thinking begins to clear and I can begin to see where to take the next step. I know it is Him helping me navigate the dark difficult waters of confusion and even at times, despair.
I want to encourage you not to ignore your groanings. Not to pretend they aren’t there. But to acknowledge them to the Lord and actively bring Him into those dark areas. Our political/national situation often causes me to want to hide under the covers! But it is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit which leads me to pray for our leaders and nation. Asking the God of all Nations to bring His solutions to play. To protect the truth and to even show us how to vote! There are so many opinions flying around and I find myself simply asking the Lord to uncover the truth and lead me to it! The Holy Spirit helps encourage me to stand strong and face every groaning and moaning situation, and He desires to do the same for each of us.
Father, I ask that you alert us to our moanings, groanings and sighings. I ask that as we acknowledge the stressful season we live in that you teach us how to access your help even more. We release our faith for not only solutions to our personal needs, but also for the global situations our world is facing. We pray for wisdom during this election season. We pray that you will uncover the truth wherever it has been hidden, twisted or manipulated in any area of our lives. We thank you for helping us to continue to stand strong as a believers and not shy away from things that would produce more sighing and groanings, but we would trust you in the midst of them. In Jesus Name, amen