Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
“in our weakness”
I really don’t like those words. I hate to admit when I am weak, to ask for help. I get a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach as I begin to realize the vast extent that I…
- … say shockingly hurtful words
- … put my own desires over others’ needs
- … judge and criticize, internally and externally
- … take forgiveness for granted
- … am captivated by the shiny objects of this world
- … disbelieve the gospel
- … forget that I am a child of God, and so are you
- … can’t just “fix” it myself
It may be a blow to our pride, but this is exactly where the Lord finds us, exactly where we need him the most. He finds us at our weakest, when we are wholly incapable. We have sunk nose-deep into the quicksand of sin, fear and death. Not only can we not crawl out, even our cries for help are muffled by the mire. And as we look around, we catch a glimpse of One that we didn’t even realize was there. Just over to our right is One that reaches out to take hold of our hand, hold us up and call in the cavalry.
This is the pure and sure help we see in Romans 8:26. Let’s look at three beauties of the Holy Spirit found here:
The Holy Spirit is right here, right now. As part of the Godhead, He was intimately and intricately involved in the very formation of every fiber of my being. He knit me together atom by atom. He placed each freckle exactly where he wanted and made my 2nd toe a little longer than my big toe. And when He was done building my whole frame — body, mind and soul — he took up residence right inside of me so that I can never ever be alone. As my helper the Holy Spirit stands with me, shoulder to shoulder, walking with me through each fire and each flood. (see the songs at the bottom for more this)
The Holy Spirit, as our personal Author, knows our hearts better than we do. He knows our pains, our fears, our failures, our successes, our motivations, our desires and our needs. And he takes my mosaic heart-smorgasbord straight up to the Father to plead for help, mercy and love in ways we never could. We have no idea what we truly ought to pray for. Left to our own devices we will almost always pray for self-comfort things. There nothing wrong with this, it’s just not sufficient. There are greater glories in this world than I can ever fathom. And so the Spirit pleads on our behalf. And the most amazing thing happens: the Father says “Yes.” To every prayer the Spirit makes: “Yes.”
So, what IS the Holy Spirit praying for? Often he agrees with our prayers. Often He doesn’t. But this we know: He always pleads for our “good” and God’s glory. And He knows exactly the words to whisper into the Father’s ears…”groanings too deep for words.”
This is one of the more shocking phrases in the Bible. A phrase that breaks the traditional stoic stereotypes we have of God. “Groanings to deep for words” can also be translated “Love Secrets.” Sit on that for a second.
And because of this miraculous presence and work of the Holy Spirit we can read Romans 8:28 not as a platitude or with skepticism, but from the mouth of a God who went face to face with the greatest evil this world has even known…the murder of the Son of God…and inverted this evil into the Greatest Good, the Greatest Love ever imagined: the salvation of all who believe.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
If God was able to invert murder into new life, he is able to meet me in my weakness — regardless of what that weakness is — my sin, others’ sin, fears, anxieties, infirmities, relationships, poverty, hunger, sadness…whatever. The Holy Spirit never leaves, is never at a loss for words, and never unable. He is God With Us
This outrageous hope can be perpetually difficult for our hearts hear, believe and hold onto. So, in an effort to help, here are two songs to speak to the Lord standing alongside and leading the way through the fire and the flood