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“Groanings Too Deep for Words”

She hadn’t been able to talk for several days. I don’t know what robbed my mom of her speech. Was morphine the culprit, with its ability to dull both mind and body? Did sheer exhaustion from laboring over each breath leave her too tired to talk? Or maybe her pain was so severe that she could not give voice to its intensity. But what she couldn’t speak with words, she spoke with groanings.

When her first grandsons–twins!–were lying in her arms, all of three weeks old, she smiled and groaned in a sing-song pattern that reminded me of how she used to sing around the house. During the day, her groanings seemed plaintive: sad and longing, but not an expression of pain. Throughout the night, while I sat next to her as she neared death, her groanings became less frequent but more resonant, as if she groaned to give voice to something deeper than pain, deeper than exhaustion, deeper than death.

Mom had a firm faith that nothing–not even cancer–could separate her from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ. She prayed often that by grace through faith, God would comfort and console her as she lived with disease. So when the day came that she could no longer talk, she kept praying. She prayed with groans that sang a song of love to her grandsons. She prayed with groans that longed to be freed from mortality. She prayed with groans that entrusted her death and new life to the God Who promised never to leave her or abandon her. With the confidence of her faith, through she had been robbed of her voice, Mom prayed with what Romans 8 called “groanings too deep for words.”

Greg Manship
Indianapolis, Indiana


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