Wednesday, October 25, 2017

God Helps in Time of Need

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" (Romans 8:25).

One of the real difficulties believers face is our call to be patient in the face of suffering. As Christians, we know that God has revealed certain truths. The future is ultimately secure, and when we die we will go to heaven. We also know that God is going to renovate this creation. He is not going to fail in His promises. In the meantime, however, we are suffering tribulation, and it is easy for us to become impatient.

Paul has told us that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Hope sustains us. Hope is not merely wishful thinking, but a confident knowledge that God is going to fulfill His purposes, and that our tribulation will not last forever.

It is not only hope that enables us to endure the problems of this world. In verse 26, Paul introduces another Helper: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is to sustain us in the midst of trial. He is our Helper, the One who stands with us in our moments of darkness. He helps us to persevere.

Paul continues, “We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us.” In the midst of suffering, we may become confused and not know how to pray, or what to pray for. The Spirit, however, prays with us and for us.

Paul is saying that we have not one but two intercessors before the Father. Jesus Christ is our great High Priest and Advocate, who stands for us before God. But Jesus has called another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to stand with Him and with us. So both the Spirit and the Son are interceding for me, to bring my prayers before the throne of the Father.

Often when we suffer it is difficult (even impossible) to see how our suffering can possibly be beneficial. No matter how trying the circumstances, though, we can know God is with us in our weakness. Think of times when you have needed the Spirit to intercede for you. How have you known He has come to your aid? Anticipate situations facing you this week in which you already know your weakness will require particular intercession by the Spirit.