Lots of times when I tell a joke, people groan because my jokes are pretty terrible. For example, why can’t you hear a pterodactyl (dinosaur) go the bathroom? Because the “p” is silent. Now you can see why people would “groan” at my jokes. It’s interesting to me that groan and grown sound the same and you can only tell the difference by their spelling or context. At the same time, when we grow, we can “groan” because of the growing pains – like maybe when you joints ached as a teenager.
Groan is also the sound that is made not only in response to pain but also as an expression of despair or the reaction to something heavy or weighty. At the beginning of Exodus, we read that the Israelites groaned under the oppressive demands of Pharoah, requiring them to work far beyond a healthy limit. Thankfully, God heard their groans as we read in Exodus 6:5, “Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant” (author’s emphasis).
It’s also interesting to read about what Moses did in Exodus 2:11-12 after he had “grown up” in Pharoah’s house:
“Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (Author’s emphasis.)
When Moses was grown, he went out to see and hear the groans of his fellow countrymen who were under the heavy oppression and demands of Pharoah. Maybe Moses’ observations and choices were juvenile instincts if we consider the development of the Israelites into a fully mature nation. Over the course of many decades, Israel was freed by God’s power from Egypt’s control. But it also took lots of time, struggles, experiences and even conflicts for Israel to grow into the nation that God had promised and foreseen with His covenant and prophecies dating back to Abraham. For Israel to grow into nationhood, there were lots of groans and growing pains.
I suspect we could also make some similar parallels with our lives in relation to growing pains and groans. When you think about this, can you identify some groaning in your life to help you become more fully grown? It might be easiest to look at our teen years to recall some groaning and growing that we experienced. I’d also like to suggest that it’s possible that we may not be fully grown in some areas of our lives because we chose to avoid the groans and growing pains that can accompany the maturation process. Of course, it’s natural to avoid pain, but maybe we could enjoy some benefits of increased maturity if we’d decide to agree with the parallel growing pains. Let’s remember that the journey and process for Israel to become a nation required lots of time and some “groaning.” In the end, however, it was well worth the process! No matter your age, let’s keep growing.