I’ve spent a good part of the summer traveling back and forth to Florida to help restore a home we’re about to put on the market. While I enjoy that kind of work, it can take its toll. Lately, as I’ve been working on the house, I’ve noticed that every time I kneel down, try to stand up, lift almost anything, or attempt something exertive at all, my body lets out with a pathetic, audible sound. It’s as if it’s crying out to God for redemption, relief, or restoration (the three “r’s” of salvation). It’s like a new prayer language.
I suppose when the Pentecostal or Charismatic brothers and sisters refer to a “prayer language,” they’re not meaning a groan. In my case, however, that’s exactly what it seems to be. But as much as I don’t like it, it appears to be Biblical.
Get Back, Loretta
Ever since we (the human race) got kicked out of the Garden of Eden, we’ve been trying in the worst way to get back. We do it with all sorts of things and in all kinds of ways—the occasional ballgame or concert, a new car or house, or events like family gatherings. Aside from these conscious efforts, however, our bodies apparently have an innate longing to be back where everything was perfect as well.
In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul made mention of the fact that our earthly bodies “groan and are burdened” and desire to be back to their normal state (or maybe I should say, their ultimate one). On an even deeper level, he told the Roman church that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). So, I guess I’m in good company. If the Holy Spirit (as well as my own body) keeps praying for me, I can’t really complain.
I suppose I need to learn to pace myself. I remember observing my Dad following his retirement. He was a real worker, but he seemed to understand his limitations. His philosophy and practice became his lifestyle—get up early, work until noon, and take the rest of the day off. It seemed to work well for him. Since I’m built in his mold, I should probably give it a shot.
On a Roll
I don’t know if his routine would work for me, but I suspect I could reshape it to adapt to my existence in some way. I don’t want to wear myself out prematurely, so I suppose some changes are in order. It’s not that I’m a workaholic, but I definitely tend to overdo it when I get on a roll.
Somewhere along the way, this old body will finally give out. If I understand Scripture correctly, I’ll receive a new, glorified, spiritual body in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). It sounds like there won’t be much moaning and groaning at that point. Plus, it will be forever. I guess I can put up with my new prayer language for a little while longer.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]