I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:18-31
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in[a] hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes[b] for what is seen? 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 how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[c] with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,[d] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit[e] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[f]
28 We know that all things work together for good[g] for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 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 within a large family.[h] 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Paul calls to mind some of the very difficult circumstances and experiences in life and in that context he brings up prayer.
How are we to pray?
What are the best words?
He answers that question this way: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too keep for words.”
Isn’t there great comfort in that? It’s not about the right words, because sometimes all we can manage is a sigh too deep for words — and that is enough.
Our reading today ends with a couple of questions. After Paul has called to mind how life is difficult, he asks, “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”
When we are living in difficult times — as we all do at one time or another in our lives — what are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Here is Paul’s answer:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39, NRSV)
“Make Me a Captive, Lord”
Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.
My heart is weak and poor
Until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure,
It varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
Till thou hast wrought its chain;
Enslave it with thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.
My pow’r is faint and low
Till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow,
It lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world
Until itself be driv’n;
Its flag can only be unfurled
When thou shalt breathe from heav’n.
My will is not my own
Till thou hast made it thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne,
It must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent
Amid the clashing strife
When on thy bosom it has leant,
And found in thee its life.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster