“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”Romans 8:26

The most significant moments of growth in my walk with God have come from the deepest valleys of my life. When life turned upside down and I had no idea how to move forward, when loss hit hard and unexpectedly, when I no longer recognized the woman I saw in the mirror—those turned into some of my most precious moments with the Lord. 

At the end of myself, when I had absolutely nothing left to give and nothing left to lose, God was there. When I could no longer think of the words to say, my prayers became more honest than ever. I had to have faith and hope in what I could not see because everything in front of me was falling apart. And God was faithful to walk with me to the other side of the valley, to allow waiting in my life for my healing and His glory, so that when the next valley came I would remember where to place my hope and my future.

In our reading today, Paul is writing to the believers in Rome, and he takes time to remind them—and us—that God did what humans could not. By sending His Son to die for our sins, a completely unblemished sacrifice, and the only one worthy enough to pay for the debt of the world, our sins can now be fully forgiven. As believers, we now have access to the Holy Spirit, who bears witness that we are children of God and recipients of the beautiful gift of salvation.

Paul notes that our response, once we have decided to follow Jesus, is to live differently than the rest of the world. We do not follow what our flesh desires, or take matters into our own hands, trying to fix things in our strength, but we follow where God directs. We were not invited into slavery, but adoption and that relationship brings with it hope and a future.

But a life following Jesus does not come without suffering or sacrifice (Romans 8:17).

There is so much good that comes from following God, but we are never promised a safe, easy, comfortable life. God, however, has a plan for that, too. Paul writes that our suffering is not futile, but it has a purpose rooted in hope—for those of us who choose to trade the bondage of the world for the freedom we have in Christ, we have something glorious to look forward to —eternity with God, where all suffering is gone, all sickness healed, all ashes replaced with beauty. The world will bear witness to the way we walk through heartache with honesty and hope, and it might just be the very thing that draws someone else into a relationship with God. 

Even our waiting has a purpose, as God designed it as an opportunity for us to build endurance as we wait with hope for the day His promises will be fulfilled. And while we wait, we have the Holy Spirit, who knows our hearts, to intercede on our behalf when we can’t find the words to pray, when our hearts are heavy and weighed down by burdens. Joy will come in the morning, but until that day arrives, as we wait, as we suffer, as we cry out to the Lord, we can rest in this truth: 

“…in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37–39)

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Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine is the author of Holy Hustle, Quieting the Shout of Should, and the Holy Hustle Planner. She serves as the Communications and Online Director for her church and has a passion for using social media as a mission field to reach as many as possible for Christ. You can connect with Crystal online at crystalstine.me, get a sneak peek of her first books through several YouVersion reading plans, or find her on Instagram @crystalstine. Crystal lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.

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