Romans 8:26

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 through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26
Have you ever been at a loss for words? Have you ever received some bad news, or maybe got some good news but you just didn’t know what to say? I remember when we found out my wife was pregnant with our second child. I was finishing up my master’s degree and I was a teacher’s assistant and working full time. We had just purchased a home that I was gutting and remodeling. Often I would wake up in the morning, go to my classes, teach a class or two, and then go to work. I would come home from work and do homework at the house I was remodeling and during homework breaks I would work on the remodel sometimes until 2 or 3 am. It was a chaotic time in our lives. I remember my wife telling me she thought she was pregnant, and I just sat there, not really knowing what to say. It’s not that we didn’t want more kids, it was the timing of it all. I was speechless.
Our passage today is an excerpt out of a larger passage where Paul helps us see into the unseen. It’s a rare look past the veil of the material into the immaterial nature of humankind. Paul talks about how our spirit works with God’s Spirit to remind us that we are God’s, that our identity is found in who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us in the Gospel. He ties all that into this giant feeling of expectation that there is going to be some kind of resolution to this sinful, broken world he says, ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth...’. And he goes on to explain that just as difficult as it is to put words to the yearning we have that all be made right, we often times in our weakness can’t find the right words to say to God about our circumstances. Sometimes things are just too big for words.
Here’s the thing, we don’t have to have the words. Sometimes prayer is silent. God has left us with his Spirit to intercede for us when we just don’t know what to say. His Spirit is the promised presence of God, the ‘I will be with you always’ that Jesus promised us at the end of his time here on earth. So that everything that happens to us, good, bad, joyful, or sad works for our good. Paul is not saying that the all the things that happen to us are good, but that they work for our good. The good is that we are continually being made into the image of Christ so that the work the Jesus began in our hearts when we trust him continues on and on and on, this side of heaven. The Spirit is always working in our lives, seen, unseen, aware or unaware, he is there working for our good and for God’s glory.  
Questions for reflection:

  1.  Try to recall a time when you had NO words.
  2.  Do you find comfort in the promise that the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t have words?
  3.  Take a moment to remind your heart that even in the difficult places of your life the Spirit is working for our good.
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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