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Groaning

She’d experienced her share of tough times in life:  an unfaithful husband, the economic stress that results from divorce, several relocations in an attempt to find work, etc. She settled in as our church’s secretary and found a home. Still, she was looking for more. (Aren’t we all?)

I had been preaching a series of messages on the resurrection. One of the points of emphasis was that the resurrection is not about us receiving another body—it has to be the same body that experienced death or otherwise you couldn’t call it a resurrection. Just as with Jesus, the body that died is the body that will be raised.

It wasn’t too long after that that she brought the subject up to me. As I recall, our conversation fell something along these lines:

“So you’re telling me that the body I have now is the same body that will be resurrected?”

“That’s right. When Jesus was resurrected He wasn’t given another body—it was the one with the wounds in His hands, feet and side.”

 A big sigh from her. “I was really hoping for something better.”

And with that she was groaning! Paul writes, “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). We’ve all groaned as we’ve experienced the limitations of our body—the sore muscles, aching joints or the temporary illness. There are the groans that come from the hospital room after surgery. And there are the groans that come from the hospice as our spirit prepares to leave our body.

All of these groans take place because we live in a fallen world. Because of sin, sickness, disease and death have entered the world (Genesis 3:19). Death is our destiny (but thank God, not our ultimate one). Our groaning is part of this but it is also a sign that God has something better for us ahead!

God did not create us as a body-less spirit. We are spirit and body (Genesis 2:7). In the big picture of redemption, our relationship with God is restored through Jesus. That’s the beginning of redemption—not the end. Then when Jesus returns, our bodies are resurrected and reunited with our spirits (1 Thessalonians 4:13ff). The body that was “lost” due to sin is redeemed.

It will be our body but it will be glorious and adapted (transformed) for our heavenly existence (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). This prompts a thousand questions on our part but to the point, our body will be like Jesus’ body (1 John 3:2-3). That’s all we really need to know, isn’t it? Questions are fine and curiosity is normal but our Father holds the glorious resurrected Christ out to us and says, “This is what you can expect.” Really, we’re okay with that, aren’t we?

If not, think about the principle behind Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9 where he is speaking about how the gospel was “hidden” from the wise—“’What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” The same holds true for the resurrection.

There will be no disappointment and no groaning!

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