Day 6 - "By the Grace of God"

Day 6 - "By the Grace of God"

Written By: Joy Hardin
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26, ESV).

Imagine yourself lost in a big city with no GPS, no phone, and no roadmap. Years ago, when new to the area, our daughter was sick and we were sent to one of the children’s hospitals in Atlanta. Everywhere we turned there was a road that began with “Peachtree.” We didn’t have a map, cell phone, or GPS, and the more hurried we drove, the more lost we became. Her fever continued to climb. We prayed in panic. Finally, we spotted a police officer who gave us directions, and we made it safely to the hospital, where after tests and IVs, her fever and illness were under control. Trying to navigate through life without the help of God is much like this. Yet, the Holy Spirit is there waiting to help us traverse through life’s struggles.

There are two actions of the Holy Spirit indicated in this verse: helping and interceding.  
“The Spirit helps us….” The word used for “helps” in this verse describes someone who comes along on the other side of a heavy load and helps you carry it. Have you ever had a load that was too heavy to carry? Life itself sometimes seems too hard to bear. The Holy Spirit is there to lift the other side of your load, silently helping you get through difficult seasons. If you or a loved one have ever gone through a difficult time and, in looking back, knew it was only “by the grace of God,” it was the Holy Spirit who worked alongside you and helped you carry that heavy load.

“In our weakness…” This weakness is when we are faced with the “inability to produce results” (Vine’s, p. 324). We are fruitless, weak, feeble, and frail. Our own strength cannot produce the results we want. When our daughter was sick, we were looking for hospital signs, but no matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t find our way. God, through the Holy Spirit, gave us a person to point us in the right direction. In our weakness, we have to depend on a God who is greater and who alone is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV).

“The Spirit himself intercedes for us….” In Hebrews 7:25 we see Christ as the one who intercedes to God on our behalf, yet here in Romans 8:26 the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. This is a reminder that, although we will not fully understand the Trinity this side of Heaven, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in complete harmony. The Son, along with the Spirit, is interceding or petitioning God on our behalf.

The Spirit intercedes “with groanings too deep for words.” What are these groanings? This word is found in only one other place in the New Testament. In Acts 7:34 when Stephen was speaking before the council, he recounted the Israelites’ suffering in Egypt as they groaned or cried out to God for help (Exodus 2:24 & 3:7). Here we see that the Holy Spirit groans for us. He has deep compassion for us, which cannot be expressed in words. It’s comforting to know that in these difficult times, we have One who has the words and who is going to the Father on our behalf.

Stop and reflect on the times life was tough and you only made it through “by the grace of God.” Make a list of these memories and share at least one story this week of how God made a way when you couldn’t do it yourself.

Father, Thank You for the gift of your Presence, and for not leaving me without help. So many times, I don’t know how or what to pray for. Help me to remember that even when life seems overwhelming, Your Spirit is there to help me carry the heavy load and to pray for me. Thank You, Jesus, for the grace of God.