“Wednesday Hump Day,” I said to him last night before we went to sleep. He’ll go up to Glacier Bible College and be Professor Fitzwater again today, teaching students this week about the life of Christ. I’ll go stand in front of high school students and teach them sentences in Spanish about the gospel. We feel our own inadequacy.
“Meanwhile we groan,” I said. “Groan” must be an onomatopoeia, because he made that sound in agreement.
This statement is from a Bible passage that I just discovered, and I asked God if he could please hug Paul for saying these words:
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:2-4 NIV)
The other day I met with my high school principal for an evaluation meeting. Students had completed anonymous surveys about teachers, and he had a copy of the comments they made about me. Right there on one page were statements students had made about my strengths and weaknesses. When I got home, all I could remember were the critical comments.
I groaned and felt burdened.
Isn’t this how we feel all the time? When I was a mom of littles, I constantly felt my own weakness and inability to maintain the example of whom I was trying to raise them to be. I groaned often, as I would go into one of their bedrooms and apologize for something I had said or done that just wasn’t right.
As a daughter-in-law, I groan inwardly when I get to the end of a day, feeling the weight of how I could have done life better in this house we’re sharing.
Definitely I groan as a teacher. My job description is to set an example of living for Christ, and my lessons are often about God and his goodness. Then I’m short-tempered or say something thoughtless, and there it is again –my sinful nature sharing the same body as my new nature.
The more we know Jesus and devour his words, the more we see the gap between his beautiful perfection and our glaring shortcomings. He loves us. He accepts us. We know these truths, but still we long to skip all of the growing and becoming and just get to the finished product. Bring heaven, please. No more warring with our sinful selves.
We groan and long to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, and this is a dissatisfaction and unhappiness that is okay. It means we’re wishing for something real and something good that is ahead of us, but the days in this “tent” are long and the struggle against our own flesh is wearying. We often feel naked, as if we should be wearing something beautiful but it’s in the wash.
It’s okay, I’m telling you. It’s okay to be profoundly aware of our weakness and to long for the day ahead of us when Jesus will make it all better.