A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to preach up in Aberdeen with a team from bethel who were out for a mission trip. It was the first time I had preached since losing our son last year. I wanted to share with you what I spoke about that night…
Recently I have been enjoying spending time with God whilst cooking dinner, and so as I was cooking and asking God what to talk about, I heard two words from Him- Go Again.
These words were actually words we said to one another after Elias died. We can’t stay here in this pit of despair, we have to keep moving. As the Psalm states, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t sit down and make camp. Sure, we get knocked down and taken out, but we need to get back up, to move forward, to go again.
Romans 8 is one of the most encouraging chapters in the bible, and it’s what I focused on in my sermons a couple months back.
We were saved by hope, but hope that is looked at is not hope – for who hopes for what they look at? But since we hope for what we do not look at, then we look forward to it with endurance. Romans 8:24-25
The word Hope Paul uses in the Greek language is Elpis, which means “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation!” Though we may go through struggles and trials, we live with the hope of what we cannot yet see, this eternal salvation. That’s Gods promise to all who come to Him. It’s what has kept me going these last few months, the confident knowledge that, one day, I will be reunited with Elias, in eternity. What we see here is only temporary. The pain and grief of loss is not permanent. As Abraham said once, we are merely aliens passing through this land, we don’t belong here. And yet, we experience pain, loss, uncertainty, but with the promise that all will be restored to us.
The word Paul uses for endurance in this passage translates to mean “in the face of aggression”. Regardless of what we face, we hold on to this Elpis hope, this confidence that one day every tear shall be wiped away as we enter into enteral salvation, through Jesus.
In the same way also, the Spirit takes hold together with us in our weaknesses – we don’t know how we are to pray so that our prayers will correspond to the need, but the Spirit intercedes with deeply emotional heartfelt groanings.
Ever felt like you don’t have the words to pray? Here Paul tells us that even in that moment, we have the Holy Spirit interceding for us when our words fail us. God wants so much for us to succeed that He instructs Holy Spirit to pray with us and for us when we don’t have the words. The word for groanings there is a violent ailing and loud noise, it’s not a passive prayer.
If God is for us, who can be against us? … he will also give us all things as a favour, as well as giving his own son!
Guess what? God is for you! He is so for you He sent His son to die in your place so that you would not die but have eternal salvation. Whatever you’ve been through or are going through, have confidence that God is for you and with you and has good things for you!
I know what it’s like to go through stuff, trust me, these last few months have been horrendous, but we have determined to hold on to the truth from Romans 8, God is faithful, and He is calling us to get up, to move forward, to go again.
Last night I was reading through Romans 8, quite possibly one of my favourite passages from the Bible, and this time what stood out to me as I read it out aloud was from verse 26, where Paul says “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” That’s amazing. The Holy Spirit is praying, interceding for us when we don’t know what else to say, or do. He is always petitioning for our situation, our circumstance, our future.
And yet there’s more. Verse 34 says that “Jesus…is at the right hand of God and is ALSO interceding for us.” Not only do we have Holy Spirit praying for us, but we also have Jesus Himself, sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. We have backup. We have help. We are not alone, God is for us and He is at work for our own good.
When we enter into situations of unease or hardship, we can enter into them in full knowledge that we have all of heaven backing us up. When I pray for the sick, I like to remind myself of this all the time. When I pray, something is happening. I also pray in the knowledge that I have backup. God is not calling us out to do something and then takes a step back to leave us on our own.
This week, we (Healing Rooms Scotland) are heading into the countries largest music festival, in Kinross. There will be over 100,000 people there over the course of 3 days. We are going in to offer prayer, support and to tell others of the Good News. We go in there in the full awareness of who we are, what we carry and that we have all of heaven ready and willing to back up our prayers. I can’t wait to see all that God is going to be doing there over the course of the weekend. Lives will be transformed, changed forever. This is the first time we have ever been able to get into such a festival, one that is notorious for excessive drinking, among other things. We get to release light, release the answer. This country will never be the same again. We go in with heaven behind us, cheering us on, interceding on our behalf.
Whatever your situation this week, know that you have Holy Spirit and Jesus interceding for YOU today. You are well loved by God, He has got your back.