Best of Daily Reflections: God Hears Our Groaning
God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
For years, Moses sojourned in Midian, having fled from Egypt because the Pharaoh sought his life. During this period, the Israelites continued to suffer as slaves under the cruel hand of their Egyptian masters. In their agony, “They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God” (v. 23). Exodus records the good news that “God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (v. 24). For the first time in the book of Exodus, we glimpse a glimmer of hope for God’s people.
Even today, God hears the groaning of his people. When we hurt and cry out to God, he attends to us. This is good news, indeed. But it does not mean that we necessarily feel as if God is hearing us. There are many times when it seems as if God is absent or has, at any rate, chosen to ignore our cries. This experience is reflected in the Psalms, most notably in Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief” (vv. 1-2).
In times when it seems as if God will not hear us, we are comforted by the good news of Exodus 2:24. Even as God heard the groaning of Israel, so he will hear us. Later, Psalm 22 celebrates this truth: “Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved (vv. 4-5a). Later, this psalm adds, “For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help” (v. 24). In times when God seems very far away, we hold on to the biblical promise tenaciously, maybe even desperately. God will hear us. God listens to our groaning.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you groaned before the Lord? Did it seem as if he heard you? How can you know that God hears your groaning? What can you do when it seems as if God is absent?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I want to thank you for hearing my “groaning.” There have been so many times when I have cried out in fear, sorrow, or discouragement. And you know, Lord, that in some of those times it didn’t seem at first as if you heard me at all. Yet I hung on to the truth of Scripture, believing that you are attending to my cry even when I couldn’t sense it. In time, I came to experience the truth of what I believed. So I thank you, both for hearing me, and for allowing me to know that you hear me.
Today, gracious Lord, I want to pray for people I know who are groaning. I think especially of one dear friend and her family who are bearing what feels like an impossible load. Sometimes they know you hear their cries. Sometimes it seems as if you have turned your back. So I ask you, above all, to make yourself known to them. May they sense your presence and peace. And then, dear Lord, please bring healing and deliverance to them. Save those who trust in you! Amen.