I was clearing out some files today and found this. I thought it went along well with our rest stop.
I have a story to tell, a confession to make. Yesterday, I was distracted during service while the pastor was preaching from the book of Proverbs. He mentioned Romans 8 and when I turned there I began to wonder what Romans 8:28 is all about.
You know Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It’s the verse people often pull out when they don’t know what else to say when a friend is dealing with something painful in his or her life. It often comes across as, ‘Here’s your prescription. Take Romans 8:28 and call me in the morning.’ In other words, ‘Don’t hurt, don’t cry. Here, check out this bible passage and maybe you won’t be so uncomfortable to be around tomorrow.’
Gee, thanks Doc.
But the passage is much richer than that. Paul tells us earlier in Romans 8 that in our pain we are like a pregnant woman who waits for the birth day of her child. In her pain her expectation of something good happening increases over time. And just as a woman’s belly is enlarged as she waits, our souls are enlarged in our waiting. Paul never tells us to stop hurting.
And then he tells us a curious thing beginning in verses 26-28 from The Message translation, Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
So what I hear is Paul telling us it’s ok to feel how we feel in hard times. We don’t have to try to put on a happy face for everyone else. The Spirit is praying in us. He takes our pain as an offering. Our sighs, our aches, our groans are transformed to something beautiful and valuable. He’s a master alchemist taking common ore and transforming it into glittering diamonds, glistening rubies, and glorious gold. Something beautiful is born from our struggle.
These verses show me that God has it. I can rest in His strength. I can hurt and I can trust God. Hurt and trust aren’t mutually exclusive.
Whoops, where’d the preacher go? Time for the final song.