27 January 2009

Just OK - Groaning

Often when people ask me, "How are you?" I respond in honesty with, "Okay." The inevitable response to this by people who actually care is, "Just okay?" and I say, "Yes, just okay."

From there it is usually hard for me to describe why I feel this way. Having said so much on simple living, I think we are at a position that most adequately communicates my feeling. Here it is: I am not satisfied. I am "just okay" because I am just not satisfied. As I said before, "happily ever after" begins at death. I will not be satisfied until I eat of the fruit that yields of the tree nourished by the river flowing from the throne of God.

Perhaps a more Biblical term for this dissatisfaction is groaning. Paul Tripp's words ring true on this in A Quest for More where he describes the conflict in us between gratitude and groaning:

Big kingdom living is lived in the tension between deep gratitude and daily groaning. I am thankful because I have been rescued and am being progressively freed from my bondage to the unfulfilled promises of physical earth. I am thankful because I am learning to keep creation in its proper place. Yes, I am thankful for gorgeous flowers, sweet aromas, and the delicate taste of well-prepared food. I am thankful for the many people in my life, for sunsets and rivers, for mountains and animals. And I am thankful for how each of these things in some way reflects the glory of God. But most of all I am thankful that God has broken the power of these things over me and is teaching me not to look to them for the satisfaction of my soul.

At the same time I groan. I groan because this world is a broken place. There is nowhere I look where this brokenness cannot be seen. I groan because I am not yet all that God’s grace can enable me to be. I groan because I long for God’s kingdom to come. I groan because I have tasted the pleasures of this earth and they do not satisfy. Because of these things there is never a day when it is not right for me to groan.

Notice the logic of [Romans 8:22-25]. We are supposed to groan because there are things that we have been promised but do not yet have. We are supposed to groan because the full expression of God’s kingdom has not yet come. We are supposed to groan because we are not yet all that God shed the blood of his son for us to become. We are supposed to groan because the temporary pleasures of this physical world do not satisfy us; they always leave a void in our hearts. We are supposed to groan because in every situation and circumstance we see the damage that sin has done and is doing. We are supposed to groan because we recognize how we each give in to the temptation to seek in the physical world what we can only find in the Lord and what will only be fulfilled in eternity. This side of eternity, groaning is meant to be the default language of the big kingdom. When we groan for these reasons we get it right.

How are you? Just peachy? If you don't groan, consider if you are more satisfied in this life than you should be.