Why are we booing?

Romans 8:22-25
I attended a much-anticipated high school football game this weekend.

A few thousand people joined me. Fans packed the stadium for what turned out to be a back and forth contest. On one play, our side got the better hand. On the next play, the opposing team made their mark.

It was a great game.

Even the officiating crew made their presence known. Not always in a good way, of course. When the officials got involved, at one point, I heard a young boy in front of me ask, “Dad, why are we booing?”

His dad explained why the referee should’ve kept his penalty flag to himself. Throughout the game, the boy had been yelling and showing a lot of school spirit. I imagine he was rooting for a family member. I never heard him ask another question save for an order of nachos or popcorn. Asking that question afforded him an opportunity to grow in his understanding of the game. He would also know what to watch for later.

And he learned booing can be almost as much fun as cheering. 

I’ve been thinking about that little boy’s question all weekend. I imagine him asking another question related to the Bible. “Why are we groaning?” Booing is something crowds do together, much like celebrating after a great play. Obviously, booing is different than groaning. But Romans 8 reminds us of our collective groaning.

It’s collective because “creation itself groans.” As part of creation, “we ourselves” groan, too. We’re all waiting for something to happen. Here’s how Paul puts it. First, “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Then, “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

Now, you might wonder what this groan sounds like. I don’t know. Someone once taught me there’s a difference between crying and crying from the neck down. If you don’t know what it means to cry from the neck down, you haven’t had to do it. In my mind, our groaning is like that. It’s a deep-seated pain we all experience as part of creation. And we know it when we finally sense it.

Christ has freed us. Amen!

But why are we still groaning?

Because we know this world is not heaven. There is still a full redemption of our bodies that we long for. God will make all things new. That is the hope of our faith.

In the meantime, we wait.

As we wait, we experience suffering and pain. And we groan. The groan Paul has in mind mirrors that of a woman during childbirth. That puts our groaning into perspective. It isn’t a precursor to death. Our groaning is the pain we experience as we get that much closer to new life.

One experience of life can bring us great joy and remind us of the power of God. Another experience can bring us down. That’s life on this side of heaven; we groan as a result.

And yet our hope remains in the promises of God.
Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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