Summary: If God is for us, who can be against us?
"The Sweeping Victory"
A woman, who was terribly sick in the hospital tells the following story:
"I sat in the bathroom. It was the middle of the night.
No people, no 'miracle' medicine, no strength left.
I was too tired to fight.
I sat there—four walls surrounding me.
And a bleak, monotonous 'bleep' from my battery-operated IV filled the silence. I couldn't stop the sound of that miserable machine, anymore than I could control my own miserable life.
So I sat there—dull, miserable, in pain, with no hope.
It was while I was there that I finally did hear something else.
I didn't hear it with my ears—but I did in my spirit.
I heard someone crying.
And I immediately knew that it was Jesus crying for me.
I was shocked—totally surprised.
I didn't think he would do that for me.
This experience did not leave me emotionally elated.
Nor did I feel a physical touch.
Life was the same, except I now knew I really was not in this battle alone.
Jesus cared in a way my wildest imagination would never have hoped for or expected.
Slowly I got up and shuffled back to bed, my IV still 'bleeping' in my ears.
Life was the same but different entirely.
I believe that Jesus at that time made intercession to the Father for me.
When there was absolutely no one else that would help me, he cried for me."
Another woman shares this story:
Her mother was dying of esophageal cancer, and she was making the weekly drive to Atlanta in order to help her sister take care of her.
She was feeling terribly overwhelmed and uncertain about the future.
She wondered, "How long will our family have to keep up this schedule?
How long will my mother have to endure this illness?
How long can I balance the demands of work and family?"
She continues, "I don't remember
forming any words as I drove, but I remember sighing a lot.
I don't remember that I was intentionally praying, but I do remember sensing that I was crying out to God in my heart.
Many minutes of silence passed, and then, as the sun rose in the distance, these words came to me: 'My grace is sufficient for you.'
It was an answer to a prayer I didn't even know that I had offered but desperately needed.
I was assured that God was with me.
It was a promise that I carried with me in the days, weeks, and months to follow.
It was an assurance I held on to through my mother's illness and following her death."
Have you ever felt as if you were carrying such a heavy burden, you didn't know if you could continue?
Have you ever come to the end of your rope, to the edge of the cliff, so to speak?
At times, I think we are all too aware of the brokenness of our world, and we experience incredible suffering in our daily lives.
We might experience physical illness or loss.
We deal with the pain of broken relationships.
We see stories on the news of violence, and injustice.
We see so many children and adults in our community who live in dire economic need and hopelessness.
And so, as we look around us it can be very easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed, and afraid.
There are moments in life when we are literally speechless as we face a world of suffering and pain.
When we are groping in the darkness and shocked by the brokenness of our world, when we are struggling with our own suffering and pain, as well...
...it can be hard to know what to say or what to pray for.
Have any of you ever stood speechless in the presence of great evil?
Those of us who watched the World Trade Center Towers crash to the ground on that horrible September 11th day can probably give a big affirmation to that question.
I remember that I was watching it happen on ABC News, and at the time, Peter Jennings was the Anchor.
As the first Tower collapsed, and the full weight of what he was seeing unfolded before his eyes, the sound from the ABC News studio when silent.
Jennings couldn't say a thing.
Suddenly this great wordsmith was speechless.
And then, in the background, you could finally hear someone say, "Peter? Peter?"
If you Google it on YOUTUBE--if you can handle it--you can watch it again.
What I'm trying to get at is that there are times in our lives when we are so struck with the enormity of what we are facing that we don't even know what to pray for or how to pray.
Have you ever experienced this?
Paul says that "the Spirit comes to help our weakness.