Wednesday 20 April 2016

Bible Book:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (v. 26)

Romans 8:26-39 Wednesday 20 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 74:1-12


The rich verses of this passage continue to convey the assuranceof what God has done and continues to do, and the final verses(verses 31-39) bring to a conclusion everything that Paul has saidabout Christian hope from the beginning of chapter 5: with God onour side, we may face all kinds of dangers, burdens andtemptations, but none can endanger our salvation. The joy in thisconclusion springs off the page! Whoever God calls, God keepsforever! All dangers, however great, can be withstood, for nothingcompares to the love and power of God. This has been accomplishedin and through Jesus. In the words of the Methodist baptismalservice: "all this for you"!

With so many significant and evocative verses, some might beoverlooked or consigned to the footnotes of our reading; butfootnotes sometimes contain important details. The opening versesremind believers of what God gives us as we wait for the glory tocome, to help us have the "patience" (Romans8:25) to endure the struggles and the tensions. The Spirit isour help and our guide, transforming even our groaning (Romans8:23). For even our deep and unarticulated pain and longing isheard, understood, embraced by the Spirit and transformed intoprayers: the Spirit "intercedes with sighs too deep for words".There are times when we may not know how to pray or what to hopefor, times when our feelings and longings and anxieties mightconfuse or bewilder us, times when we long to cry out to God butfeel silenced; yet even our chaotic, confused, unformed needs andfeelings might become our prayers. Whilst we wait for the finalglory, and wrestle with the frailties and tensions of life, God'sSpirit co-operates with us in all things, even the hidden andpainful parts of ourselves, for good. Ultimately it is the love ofGod that wins through, transforming and reconciling, and nothing"will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesusour Lord" (v. 39.)

To Ponder

  • How easy do you find it to wait patiently?
  • When you struggle to pray, what helps you - or might help you -to wait on God and trust that the Spirit is at work?
  • Paul concludes that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, norrulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, norheight, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be ableto separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (vv.38-39). How might these words offer you hope and assurance in thethings you are facing at present?

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