For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father". The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. ...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I have come across this passage from Romans 8 so many times in the last couple weeks: on podcasts, listening to Bible teaching, on Facebook, in a devotional...even exposited in a song (Thanks Sean Little!). It became obvious to me that the Lord was wanting to teach me something from this passage, so I began to prayerfully read and consider what it is that he wants me know.
Prayer has frequently been a struggle for me. Hectic schedules, distractions, the pressures of things that need to be done - all these war against my time alone with the Lord. Yet I know deep in my soul that prayer is crucial to anything eternally significant happening in my life. So I have made a renewed commitment to be alone with the Father, presenting my praise and petitions to him and asking for his help. Lately most of my prayers involve our upcoming move to Uganda, but specifically, our fundraising. We have had so many dear friends and loved ones commit to being on our support team, but we are running behind schedule. At least, behind my schedule. In order to deploy in September, we need to attend training this summer. And in order to attend training this summer, we need to have a certain level of monthly support committed. The deadline is approaching fast - and we are behind. So I've been going to God and pointing that out to him, as if he doesn't know!
This passage, though, has reminded me of a few things. Primarily, of my relationship with him. I have been adopted; he is my Father. I am so dependent on him. My flesh wants to depend on myself. I want to be seen as spiritual, wise, righteous. But I am not spiritual, apart from him. I am selfish. I am needy. He knows what I need and will provide as the loving Father he is. I am not wise. I don't even know what I need to pray for. I find myself praying for my will, my timetable and what I want rather than submitting to him and praying that his will be done. I am sinful. I am not righteous. Apart from Jesus, I have no righteousness of my own. My flesh can take something good like serving needy children in Uganda and corrupt it through pride or self-righteousness. My own desires and plans can easily come before my relationship with him. So time and time again, I need to go back to the place of repentance and rest. I need to confess and admit that I am helpless apart from him - like a newborn baby - and cry, Abba, Father! I need to trust him, once again, that he really does love me and have the best for me. That he is not just aware of my situation, but is in control, intentionally taking me through a process that will grow my dependence on him.
I am convinced of our call to serve in Uganda. And I really am confident that God will move in a way to get us there by September. But even if things don't work out the way I plan, I can be certain that God is a loving Father who is working for my good.