The appointed text from the epistle to the church at Rome is a deep, rich text full of promise. Laden with the trinity and the abiding works they do that bring salving and saving.
May we be blessed as we linger in these truths this week.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are times when our prayers—rote or spontaneous—run dry. We don’t know what should be the contents of our prayers. Or we know but have trouble mustering the faith that God cares or that God will act favorably upon that request. In short, words fail. The terminal diagnosis is spoken. The divorce papers are sealed and entered into the records of the courts. The needed job is snatched away or given to someone else in the interview process. We plain and simple don’t know how to pray or for what to pray. Rather than condemning us as faithless or weak or corrupt God—in the form of the Holy Spirit—comes and prays for us with sighs beyond what human words and minds can express. God does not forsake us.
There are times when forces—people and situations—rise up against us. We are hard pressed. We don’t know if we have the stamina to press on. Or we know but have trouble discerning if we are even in the right. We feel swamped and drowning. We feel besieged with a final winning blow at our expense moments away. We feel that maybe even the whole world is against us. We feel that maybe even God is against us. Rather than vanquishing us as faithless or weak or corrupt God—in the form of the Father—weighs in on our side. God says “this child is mine and I will give all I have—even my only begotten—that this one will not perish.” God does not forsake us.
There are times when separation—emotional and spiritual—from God seems huge and getting even more insurmountable. We are crushed by circumstance, persecution, lack of necessity and exposure to dangers. We take stock of our lives and decide that we are going to lose if we have not lost already. Our mortality, powers and principalities, where we are or where we will surely go, scope and size of challenges seem sure to pry us out of the loving hands of God. Rather than writing us off and dismissing us as faithless or weak or corrupt God—in the form of Jesus—says “It is finished.” and “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” What Jesus has done is sufficient once for all and we are grafted deeply into the trinity. The God who will not forsake us. Thanks be to God.
God, help us to live into these incredible and certain promises. Help us to bear witness to the world with these same life-giving assurances. You do not forsake us. Help us learn and live into not forsaking others for they are surely crafted in your image. Amen.