Thursday, December 22, 2011

Romans 8:26-27

In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

This is cool. The first thing that jumps out is “In the same way” – as what? Maybe as “hope” from the previous section. Hope gives us patience as we wait for our final redemption, the glorification of our bodies, while we go through the suffering here on earth. So the Spirit helps us in the same way, helps us get through the suffering while we wait. And what is our weakness that He helps us with? We do not even know what we need to pray for.

This passage has brought me much comfort over the years. When my emotions have been so stirred up that I could not think clearly enough to think of what to pray, when there was only grief with no words, I would remember that the Spirit Himself is interceding for me. And not just praying for me, but groaning with me. This is the third time we see “groaning”. First creation is frustrated and groans as it awaits liberty. Then Believers groan as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. Now the Spirit groans as He prays for us in our sufferings. The Holy Spirit is right here with us and in us, communing with God the Father on our behalf. And because they are both part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit knows exactly what I need and what to pray for. Elsewhere in scripture we read that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and interceding for us as well.

This Christian walk on earth, between justification and glorification, is a time of suffering and groaning. But we have hope to know that glorification is coming, our bodies will be redeemed and all of creation will be set free. All along the way the Holy Spirit is in us, giving us hope and trust and faith, groaning with us in our suffering, talking to God on our behalf, and to us on His behalf. How cool is that?!

During the most intense struggles in life I have been most aware of God’s presence. Though there was great turmoil within and without, I had a sure knowledge and trust and hope that God was right there with me. That can only be because the Holy Spirit groaned with me and gave me that hope for the future.

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