groaning

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Romans 8:22-25 (MSG)

This is an intense time of year for those of us that feel it.

The inward groan. The trees feel it. The animals feel it. Humans can feel it if they are paying attention. The lazy lake days of summer give way to this in between time before the holidays set in, beginning with Halloween and ending with New Year's.

Each time I go out to my garden I expect to come back with empty hands. The plants are leaning heavy and laying on the ground as if to say, "Can we be done now? Haven't we given you enough?" And I feel it too. Somehow I fill my pockets with green beans, okra, eggplant, and flowers. The stalks of my okra plants are like small tree trunks, their roots run deep into the soil that I've cultivated for them.  And I know you might think it's silly, but I whisper a thank you as I pluck the fruit from the plants. Somehow I give a little more than I thought I could, too. My roots run deep, too.

Then I spy it. A seed pod. Those okras and beans that we left on the plants to grow larger and larger are now filled with seeds. They are large and dried out and ready to crack. These seeds will produce plants next summer but for now this okra has to wait. Pregnant and tired. Groaning.

Pregnant and tired and groaning. I've been literally pregnant and tired and groaning many times in this particular season of the year. I've been spiritually pregnant and tired and groaning before as well. And it only takes a couple times to recognize that feeling in your soul. 

I feel it now too. The aggravation of feeling expectant when you aren't sure what God has planted in you. The wisdom to know that it must be awesome and all you have to do is wait. 

Joyful expectancy. You get that right your first time because you have no idea what is coming. But a second, third, fourth time mama will tell you she is scared of those birth pangs. It's not the birth pangs that we look forward to, although in a way we do because it means that our pregnancy will be ended and new life will begin. 

So I join with creation in this season. I feel tired, and laid low, and spent. I'm a little bored, to be honest. I am anxious for new life and fruit. Soon the bustle of the Season of Gathering will distract me and before I know it birth pangs for the whole earth will be here and there it will be- summer harvest time. 

But for now, the earth groans. Do you hear it, too?

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