Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year. I absolutely love all the family time, my boys having a short break from school, all the eating, giving gifts, and remembering the birth of our Savior. In my priority times, I have been chronologically reading through the Bible. I recently read through all four gospel accounts of the birth of Christ and I was absolutely overcome each day as I read through the different accounts. The thing about reading through different passages of Scripture multiple times is that you read things you never noticed before and you gain a perspective that you did not previously have. As I read the Christmas story this fall, I could not help but feel the anticipation of the upcoming season. However, I know that not everyone is experiencing the joy and the merriment of the season. One of my son's classmates lost his battle to childhood cancer a few weeks ago and his family is having to figure out how to have Christmas without their son and brother. There is a precious, young wife and mother in my church staring down Stage 4 cancer. I have friends whose marriage is in crisis. Divorces were finalized this year and children will be away from one of their parents on Christmas day. An unborn baby has a life threatening genetic abnormality and a precious mother and father have to simply wait and explain death to young children. I know that for some of you, this season is not merry and bright.
One of my former pastors, at a Christmas Eve service many years ago asked the church if we had been present at the birth of Jesus, would we have knelt to worship the baby King. I had never thought about the baby Jesus like that, of being worthy of my worship. Yet, as I sat in church yesterday and I listened to my pastor husband recount the birth of Jesus from Luke 2 and I thought about Mary caring for her newborn son, I could not help but wonder about the thoughts of God the Father. As He looked at his son, in human form, did He see thirty-three years into the future and see all the sins of humanity piled in all its muck and mire on the body of his own son? As earth rejoiced at the birth of the Messiah, did our Father grieve His son's earthly purpose?
See, our God knows pain, deep, heart-wrenching, ugly cry pain. In all of His wisdom, He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us, counsel us, and comfort us. I first came upon Romans 8:26 almost 20 years ago and it has been one of my favorites ever since I read it. Basically, Paul tells us in this verse that we can be encouraged in our weakness because the Holy Spirit is praying for us. We all have weakness and it is often our weakness that drives us to pray. When my son, Cooper was in the hospital suffering from sepsis, I remember not having any words when I prayed except, "Lord, save my baby, please save my baby." The words would not come and I remember wondering how my friends had what seemed like such eloquent words to pray for me and for Cooper during those days and weeks. But, as I cried those simple words I trusted the Holy Spirit knew what I needed and what Cooper needed and He was going ahead of me and petitioning God for our needs.
" . . . but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans." My understanding of this last part of the verse is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us on an emotional level. John MacArthur says, these groans refer to "Divine articulations within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words, but carry profound appeals for the welfare of every believer." One of the commentaries I read, suggests the Spirit takes up our needs at the deepest emotional level and conveys our hurts and cares to the Father's throne, all in line with the will of God. This should encourage us to pour out our hearts before Him.
Our heavenly Father knows our hurt and he provides the Holy Spirit as our great comforter. Sweet friends, my heart longs for all of you to know Him as your comforter and as the One you trust with all your life. Whatever you are facing today, I pray you will let this verse invade your weakness and your hurt and depend on the Holy Spirit to take your hurt, your pain, your uncertainty, and all your emotions to the Heavenly Father.
◊ ◊ ◊
We are working on another great lock screen image for you to download, this is a great way to keep this verse in front of you as you memorize it.
Hand lettering by Nicole Baldridge. Find her work on IG @nicolebaldridgedesigns