Posted: April 25, 2008 by Matthew Hussey in From the Heart, Missional Thought
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Romans 8: 23-27- “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 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.”


                I was reading through this passage recently, and I had to stop and think about what it’s really talking about. I guess I thought it was just about the Holy Spirit interceding for us when we don’t know what to say. But really it has to do more with our present sufferings in this life and our on-going redemption through the Holy Spirit, while we wait for the final work to be completed. The preceding verses talk about the suffering of the creation, while it’s waiting to be recreated. And this part continues talking about the suffering we face as believers. But I think it’s also part of a transition into the next passage, which is one of my most favorite parts of scriptures, verses 28 through 39. This next passage is where it talks about all things working for the good of those that love God and that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (39-39). And while these passages can be very uplifting, I’ve been thinking more recently about the suffering that we must face in this life, and the tools that God gives us to combat our pains.

My own personal brokenness has had a lot to do with the sufferings of others around me. For example, I recently heard about some real life stories about people living through war, rape, and murder, and I am forced to think about the imperfections and sin that are still very present in this world. And it also came to me that the same sin that is present in those people “out there” committing atrocities is also a part of me. I was deeply afflicted by the realization of the affects of sin. I realized once again that I am far from perfect, and I have a long way to go before I can be free to love with a perfect sinless kind of love. It was at this time that I also became very emotionally distraught. I could not and did not want to find any words to pray or speak about it. It was pain, but it was a healing type of pain, too. This is what is meant by the passage when it talks about “the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we aught to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. (8:26)” Thankfully that is why God has given us his spirit, who works both as a deposit and a guarantee that we will one day be free from the imperfections of this life.

As hard as it may be I think we all need to be exposed in this way to the suffering of the world around us. We should urgently ask God to reveal how he sees the world, so that we might learn to see the way he does. Hopefully by exposing ourselves to the needs of those around us, we will learn to hate the consequences of sin as God does. And then eventually we will learn to love like God does. Pain and suffering are not easy things to go through at the time, but it is through suffering that God teaches the most important lessons.


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