24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We’ve taken a look at the groaning of creation in Romans 8:22, and the groaning of ourselves in 8:23. This next passage of Romans 8 moves to a completely different type of groaning, the groaning of the Spirit interceding for us.
But first we must back up to hope. Verse 24 says “For in this hope we were saved” I’ve struggled to find good commentary information on this, so I’m not sure if I am on track or not. But it seems that the hope that is spoken of here, is the hope we see in verse 23, as we eagerly await adoption and the redemption of our bodies.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes in what he sees? I had to think long and hard about this, and really tear apart the definition for “hope”. I can hope my kids will clean my house, but if I see the house has been clean, than I no longer hope for it. That hope has been realized. It is the same with these verses, which perfectly set up the logic in verse 25: For if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Oh, but how hard that is, to wait with patience. We wait with fervent longing, we wait with eager anticipation, but do we wait with patience? We have no choice. We have no choice but to wait patiently for the redeeming of our bodies and the completion of justification and sanctification in our lives. That timing belongs to God alone. I wonder if part of the design is to teach us patience as we wait for fulfillment of all the promises that are “Yes” in Him. (2nd Corinthians 1:20)
Which brings us to some of the most intense verses in Romans 8:
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The three of these verses constitute one thought process; one teaching. It’s a teaching full of hope. It’s a teaching that is full of relief. The Spirit that is referred to here is the Holy Spirit, the helper that was sent to us after Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are told that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We are so weak. I am so weak. And sometimes my soul is so weak, so burdened that I do not even know what to pray. Sometimes when I wake up from a nightmare, I have no words to pray in spite of being pulled toward prayer. There are no words. There are no words. Sometimes the pain is so intense that I could write and write and write and yet say nothing intelligible, because my soul is so burdened for my children, for the loss of my marriage, for sins of my past, for events of my past. I do not know what to pray for as I ought. I do not know what to pray for.
But then a miracle happens. One I do not deserve. The spirit himself intercedes for me, with groanings too deep for words. Groanings too deep for words. Not only does the spirit understand that I have no words for certain situations, but the Spirit then takes it upon himself to intercede for me. Just take a look at this definition of “intercede”:
to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty ortrouble, as by pleading or petition
The spirit intercedes on my behalf when I am in difficulty or trouble. When my soul is experiencing great difficulty and trouble. And then the painfully beautiful thing is that the Spirit itself intercedes with groanings that are too deep for words. Too deep for words. And yet my Father hears those groanings and knows what I need. How can that be? It’s beyond comprehension. It is beautifully beyond comprehension.
But the good news, the hopeful news doesn’t end with the Spirit’s intercession. We are told in verse 27 that God who searches hearts–who searches my heart and can see all the sins and flaws and wrong motives, that same God knows the mind of the Spirit that is interceding on my behalf. And that Spirit knows the will of my Father, and thus prays accordingly, so the perfect prayers of the Spirit will be answered “Yes” because the Spirit and the Father are of one mind, though separate beings.
It’s almost too much to take in, that God the Father knows our needs so perfectly that He sent the Spirit to intercede on our behalf when the words will not come. And the groanings too deep for words are in the perfect will of the Father.
I think this brings us back full circle to the first part of verse 24: For in this Hope, we were saved.