Friday, December 11, 2009

The Spirit Groans

Romans 8:26-27
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will."

My somewhat tongue-in-cheek facebook status this morning reads: Lisa is so thankful for that verse that talks about the spirit praying with groanings for us when we have no words, but sometimes wishes either that my spirit would save its groanings for the waking hours, or that my body could figure out how to sleep while my spirit talks to God.

Like I said, it's somewhat tongue-in cheek.

Last night was one of those "groaning" nights. I lay awake most of the night, knowing that my spirit was talking to Jesus, and thankful for that, but also slightly grumpy that on a night when I was rather badly in need of some sleep, I was awake and praying.

I'm still working out (sometimes, as Paul writes, with literal "fear and trembling") this faith thing.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'd change it. (Well, other than the sleep thing.) I've been through some really difficult things in the last several years, and my relationship with Jesus is far deeper than it has ever been and for that I'm truly grateful.

But the practical daily outworking of living out this prayer and faith and life and intercession thing? I don't have a handle on that most of the time.

And this is a day of "groaning". Which I suppose fits nicely in the advent season. This season of longing and waiting for birth. And the process of birth itself, so deeply marked by groanings. But today, more than some days, I feel that groaning deeply. I feel it for my own life, but particularly for the lives of some I love who are facing some very challenging and painful moments these next days. And I'm grateful for a Spirit that intercedes for me, and for them, with groanings beyond words. Because, right now, I think the groanings are perhaps the most appropriate form of communicating those longings.