An Interceding Spirit
by Karen Huber
“In the same way, 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.” (Romans 8:26-27, NIV)
This is a season of deep grief for many – if not all – of us. Social media, church streams, even zoom calls now hold our collective cries, our weariness and our fears. For us North Americans, the global silence and inactivity occurs during these ripe and full-bloomed spring months; the weather has turned but summer’s hopes somehow still feel out of reach.
To tell you the truth, before *all this* began, I’d already waded through grief. Before it was government-mandated, I hid away from the world, weary and heartsick. In those months, when words would not suffice and prayers felt impossible, my cries came out as groans. Maybe this is the “ugly cry” Oprah used to talk about, but I came to see these cries, these groans as holy. Even when I felt a discomforting distance, I trusted Him at His word: His Spirit would intercede for me, cry with me, groan with me. He who knew my heart and mind could easily translate what I could not say with words.
The national church has taught me much, but perhaps the most valuable gift they’ve given me is a deeper awareness of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit—our comforter and friend. One friend’s teaching described the Spirit with feminine qualities: like a mother hen, like a midwife. I thought of those times when my own children are bereft, when the body they seek out most for comfort (even for heat!) is mine.
Or I think of the midwife whose frame I clung to when our youngest was born, when I very literally could not speak. She calmed and held me, and when the time came, she helped me usher in new life.
So these are the days I follow the Spirit’s lead by groaning again. To groan for the world, for our friends, for our families who are so far away, for our grieving neighbours and communities. Many of those in my nearest vicinity do not yet know how to pray, so I hold their groans and intercede for them.
And I cling and appeal to the Spirit, that they may know the eternal warmth of a mother hen’s nest, and that the winter of our grief would bear a summer’s bounty.
Yours in spirit,
“Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—the whole countryside in bloom and blossom,” (Psalm 104:30, MSG)
- Where do you long to see new life? What growing (or groaning) pains are taking place now that might give you hope?
- If you’re a journal-er like me, recount some of the ways God has met you and comforted you in your despair. Take another look and consider what might be in bloom right now.