We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23 (NIV)
Have you ever been homesick? I have witnessed this intense feeling in others, but I never experienced this feeling as a child. I was an adult when I experienced it. The circumstances were that I was visiting Estonia in 1992 and during the visit I took ill with a severe tummy bug. Not very pleasant. Alone and cut off from my family and friends, I experienced that intense feeling of separation that we call homesickness.
I have recently been aware of older Christians who are ready to die and feel they are being delayed. Their prayer is for patience as they await death and move on to be with Christ. Is it just that they have grown weary and are tired of life?
Isn’t it fascinating that two words pronounced similarly in English can have such different meanings – ‘grown’ and ‘groan’. While people may become weary as they grow older, the verses above from Romans teach us that not only does the whole creation groan, but we also groan. The groaning we experience as Christians isn’t out of tiredness, it is borne out of anticipation and excitement. Romans describes it this way, we ‘… groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies’
When children feel homesick we tend to put it down to immaturity. When adults experience homesickness we imagine that somehow they can’t cope with the stresses of life.
Yet what if homesickness has been built into us? What if God has placed in our hearts something that yearns for him and being with him?