I may not always like the way things go in my life. As a matter of fact, on my more melodramatic days, I would sometimes use the word “suffering” to describe the chaos that seems to weave its way through my home, work, and commute. But I’m not supposed to see those present things. I’m supposed to look forward to the future eternal glory God will share with me. And looking isn’t enough–in another book, we are encouraged to press on toward the prize of everlasting life. Pressing is a very active action verb, implying strength and tenacity and determination are required.
We definitely live in a broken world. It’s not what God intended. But the first man, when he broke God’s rules, brought misery not only to himself, but to all of what God created. Originally, God’s creation was good. Now, it is broken by one man’s choice. But just as man can be liberated through freely choosing God and His Will, creation will eventually be liberated.
All the miserable “acts of God” as insurance companies like to call them–floods, earthquakes, volcanoes–aren’t really acts of God. They are either the result of free will on the good creation, or the good creation begging the Creator to end the misery.
Those of us living by the Spirit also find ourselves often begging God, actually groaning–a deep, unrecognizable sound uttered in pain, misery, grief, and disapproval. We know eventually we will be fully redeemed not just from our sin but the consequences of sin. And that is a true hope.
We can’t see what it is we long for, and if we did, hope would not be required. Hope actually helps those of us who are patience challenged wait with a better attitude.
This is another pinnacle of Romans 8: 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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Humans are all frail and weak compared to an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. But He doesn’t hold that against us. He helps us, even when we don’t know how to pray.
I especially love the description for the prayer tongue charismatics have (a personal prayer language that most charismatics have that doesn’t really sound like anything but baby talk to anyone but God)–it is me giving the Holy Spirit permission to use my tongue to intercede with wordless groans according to the will of God. Using my prayer tongue allows me to decrease the me in my prayers and pray according to God’s will much more easily. I don’t have to worry about the prayer being tainted by my heart, which can be so deceitful even I cannot fully know it.
I love that my Heavenly Father works all things to my good. He will work out the consequences of all the unwise choices I made when I was outside of His will or not following His rules. He will handle all the details of the uncomfortable, inconceivable things I have suffered or will suffer at the hands of others outside of His will or not following His rules. He will manage the physical and material consequences of living in a broken world with broken people. In effect, He controls anything else He created that might affect me.
I don’t like verses 29-30. Those are the ones I tend to let up to the theologians. To summarize it the way I’d put it to any of my special angels, God called me before I was born to follow His plan, He knew what my answer would be, He covers over my failings and weaknesses with His righteousness, and eventually He’ll fix me in heaven. That avoids predestination, free will, and all that other stuff I just can’t understand.