Paul shares with us today that this walk is not easy but we have help and hope. We are not blindly stumbling about on our own. God has a plan for each of us.
We are warned right away that there will be suffering. But that suffering or problems are NOTHING compared to the reward that awaits us in the end. Because sin entered the world even creation itself struggles daily. If you ever doubt that, think about how many animals have gone extinct and how our planet has become more and more polluted. It is due to sin being in this world and working through man’s hands.
This world and all that is in it longs for Jesus’ return. Unfortunately not every man joins in that eager anticipation. But those of us who do, have a promise of help while we wait. That help comes from the Holy Spirit.
I want to share a personal story with you here. It has to do with the Holy Spirit praying God’s will for me when I didn’t know how to pray. I’m going to warn you here that I believe in the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues and intercession.
About five years ago my husband underwent open heart surgery. It was scary but he made it through it. Then came the tough part. He wouldn’t wake up for four days. They couldn’t get him off the ventilator because his blood pressure would skyrocket every time they began to lighten his sedation. On the fifth day, after multiple medication changes and determination, he was removed from the ventilator and breathing on his own.
But the struggle was not over. He was awake but not cognitively aware of what was going on. Plus his lungs were full of secretions from surgery and the ventilator. The nursing staff needed him to cough this up but he couldn’t understand what they wanted. Interventions were used to force him to cough but he became so agitated with this that he fought the nurses. He became so combative that they couldn’t do anything to assist him. We were all at our wit’s end!
That night as I lay in the family room trying to sleep, I felt a pull to pray. We were already a week past surgery and I had been praying and reading my bible constantly but this was different. My spirit was pressed into prayer. I KNOW this was the Holy Spirit. HE needed to take the reins for this prayer. I began praying in tongues and kept praying until I felt peace.
During this prayer time I felt as if my whole body was in a battle. I received a vision of my husband spewing mucus from his lungs and the nurses celebrating but felt the need to continue praying still. When I finally felt a release of the urgency that had taken hold of my spirit I began to praise God. I knew something had happened during that time.
I wanted desperately to run to my husband’s room and see what God had done but I felt led instead to lie down and rest. God knew I needed rest for myself as much as my husband needed that prayer time. The Holy Spirit sung me to sleep that night.
As soon as morning hours permitted, I rushed to my husband’s room. The nurses couldn’t wait to tell me about the amazing recovery he had in the middle of the night. They description of events were exactly as I had seen them in my vision. THANK GOD the His Spirit knew what to pray for and how to break through to Heaven! I know without a doubt that what Paul talks about is exactly what happened in the hospital that night. The Holy Spirit interceded for my husband and me.
Ok, back to our reading. The last two points Paul raises often times cause debate. They are often looked at as two separate ideas but really they work together. One drives the other. Honestly, I just saw it myself so I pray I can convey what I was given correctly. (ESV)
- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (verse 28).
- “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified” (verses 29-30).
Many people get caught up in the word “predestined” and say that God only chooses to save certain people. But we need to hold onto the word “foreknew” instead. God exists outside of time. He knows beginning and end, as well as everything in between. He didn’t assign some to be saved and others to be damned. He wants all of us to choose to follow Him but He gave each of us free will. But He KNEW what our decision would be before we even made it. EACH ONE OF US.
He didn’t lead us into a trap, but He knew what events would be essential in bringing us to our decision point and He arranged them perfectly for that purpose. Because He knew we would choose Him, He wove the threads of our lives into the intricate design that transform us into “the image of His Son.” Something we longed for and He provided.
Some of us needed a bit more pressure here and there to find the decision path while others seem to effortlessly sail straight and true. It probably only looks that way to those of us looking in on their lives. I’m sure God put some burs in their nests too. He alone knows what it will take to bring His children home safe and sound.
Thank You Father for Your Holy Spirit. I would be lost on my own. Thank You for Steve’s amazing improvement. Thank You Holy Spirit for taking the reins from my hands. Thank You Father that You know exactly what it takes to bring me back to You. Please continue shaping my life and conforming me into Jesus’ image. I want to look just like my Big Brother! I am anxious to see You face to face and see how I measure up. SO praying for a good report!