Groan! Groan!

Wednesday, May 20

Romans 8:26 is an interesting verse and difficult to understand. “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.” The Greek word for “groans” has shades of meaning—sighs, murmurs, as well as groans—a little confusing. By context, we can conclude that the interceding has to do with heart issues, feelings and desires that leave us in doubt as to how to pray. It goes back to the groaning of v. 23. That groaning is a desire to leave this world and get to heaven. Paul himself had that dilemma. “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to dies is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far [for me]. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” This is a dilemma for us as it was for Paul. We look forward to heaven with great anticipation, yet we are still living in a world that is evil and getting worse. We have a job to do, but we would prefer to have it over with and get on to our new home in heaven. Do we pray for endurance? patience? worldwide revival? for the Lord to come tomorrow? This is where the groaning of the Holy Spirit comes in: “because the Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will (v. 27).” The Holy Spirit’s “groaning” is to modify our prayer to fit both our heart felt needs and God’s agenda It’s encouraging to know that God reads our hearts and responds appropriately.

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