Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26a ESV)

Here at International Lutheran Church we have been “On the Roman Road” this summer even as Chenhsi and I have been visiting supporting churches in the US. We have been reading through this very powerful letter to the church that operated at the very seat of power and influence during the life of the Apostle Paul. While the focus of today’s passage speaks of our weakness, it also reminds us that things may not always be what they seem.

With just a couple weeks left to go, the end is in sight for our travels this summer. We have been so blessed to connect with friends and family, churches and co-workers from around the globe. What a blessing to be able to share with all these dear saints how God is working in and through International Lutheran Church. At the same time, though, we miss our fellowship with you all and long to be back in our own bed! Sometimes being on the road can become weary. Paul understood the whole Christian life in similar terms. Sometimes the struggles and challenges of everyday life can cause us to long to “be at rest.”  Yet for Paul, even this “weakness” was a sign of God’s strength.

Weakness was certainly not the image that Rome used to subdue the world. Like all world powers before and after, weakness was and is something to be hidden away lest your enemy use it to their advantage. Sometimes we take a similar view. We don’t often or easily share our weaknesses with others. Yet Paul did not see weakness in this way at all. Instead, he looked on the weakness and suffering in our lives as further testimony of how God works in our very lives, especially in and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. God’s weakness, displayed in the cross of Christ and His suffering, is at the same time His power to save and give us hope.

By going back to creation and our fall into sin, Paul demonstrates that our groans and the groans of creation itself are a result of the hope we have in us. Yes, we groan together with all of creation until such time as we both are freed from bondage and decay. In this hope, the Spirit groans for us, with words that we cannot even understand to help us in our weakness.

While we may at times get a little weary of life’s trials and tribulations, and the “road” can feel long and arduous, we hear again today that we are not alone. Help has already come. In the midst of our weakness, in the midst of our groaning, the Spirit too groans for us and helps us on the way. As we join in worship today and gather to hear His Word, we are encouraged to share this good news wherever He sends us!

Pastor Carl