Summary: This is the eighth message in a series over Romans 6-11. The series examines how we now live under God's grace. This message looks at how everything is under God's control.
A little girl who was riding along on her bike when she bumped her head on the low hanging branch of a tree. She ran into the house hollering, "Mom! Mom, Joey hurt me!" Mom looked up from what she was doing and said, "Sissy, Joey didn’t hurt you. Joey’s not even here. He went to the grocery store with your daddy." The little girl got this startled look on her face. Then in a bewildered sort of voice she said, "That means stuff like this can happen on its own at any time. Whoa, bummer!" If we are really honest with ourselves there are things in life that broadside us and we are left feeling like life will get the best of us. We are so discouraged that we just don’t know what to pray. In fact when we do pray it seems like our words aren’t making it past the ceiling. We feel so alone and hopeless. We have cried out to God but we seem to get nothing but an awkward silence. Maybe God has forgotten me or has He just given up on me? The pain is real, the struggles are real and the questions are real. Paul was well aware of this reality and He provides us with answers to these difficult questions. As we open this section of Romans 8, we discover that Paul is providing us with some words of hope. In fact, if we open our hearts to these words we will find that God is still in control and He is at work in our situation even when it is not obvious. So let’s discover some important things we can take from this passage.
I. There are times when things get so rough that you think you don’t even know the words to pray.
A. The Holy Spirit is always present helping us through our weakness.
1. The most difficult aspect for Christians in difficult times is that we tend to evaluate our own resources in determining how we will make it through a particular situation.
2. When we see the term weakness it is referring to the limitations of our human condition.
3. Paul is actually re-emphasizing the point that we are a part of the fallen creation that he discussed earlier in chapter 8.
4. Paul shows that the Spirit is ever present picking up the slack and sustaining us in ways that we could never do on our own.
5. A.T. Robinson states it this way; “The Holy Spirit lays hold of our weaknesses along with us and carries his part of the burden facing us as if we were carrying a log, one at each end.”
6. The hope that helps us make it through the difficulties in life rests not in our abilities but the resources made available to us by God through the Holy Spirit.
B. When we don’t have the words the Holy Spirit fills in the blanks.
1. The fact is our weakness also extends to our prayers especially in those times that we are overcome by difficulties and the words to pray escape us.
2. Even in those times when we stammer and stumble in our prayers, Paul assures us that they do not lose their effectiveness because the Holy Spirit is at work as He knows exactly what is deep within our hearts.
3. Paul says that the Spirit intercedes for us. The term intercede means to make an appeal to someone on another person’s behalf.
4. Jack Cottrell states it this way in his commentary on Romans. “In our feeble attempts at heartfelt prayer, he intercedes for us, standing between us and the Father.”
5. In fact the Holy Spirit makes our prayers more effective because He allows our prayers to line up with God’s will.
6. The construction of the verse in the Greek shows that the Spirit literally helps us to pray the way we ought to pray.
II. There are times God seems absent but the reality is, He is still at work.
A. Even when God is silent, He is still working on our behalf.
1. Paul states that God works in “all” things. This covers a lot of territory including the different personalities, life experiences and circumstances we encounter on our journey through this life.
2. Verse 28 implies that in every situation that we encounter God is the game changer, taking the situation and using it to the benefit of His children.
3. The verse is not saying that God causes all the things that happen but He is in complete control and is working so that the situation ends in the way that will be most beneficial to us.
4. The promise that this verse provides is hard for us to wrap our brain around. However, God will bring ultimately good consequences out of whatever His children face in this life.