Every time my husband and I go sailing, we hear radio calls from boaters in distress.
A vessel’s engine fails, and the boat drifts toward a rocky shoreline.
A kayaker tips over, and the current carries him away.
A fire breaks out onboard, and all occupants must abandon ship.
Whatever the problem, these folks are in trouble and need immediate physical help.
Sometimes we need immediate spiritual help
As I write this, I’m thinking of a friend whose cancer has returned and left her with limited options. Maybe you know someone in the same situation. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a desperate situation yourself.
Relationships disappoint us. Marriages fail. Health fails. Kids go off the deep end and land in trouble. Money runs short.
Life’s like that. Hard things happen, and fear takes over. Worry keeps us awake at night. Unforgiveness threatens to pull us under or carry us away.
We need a rescue. We need immediate spiritual help. The good news is, help is close at hand. Romans 8:26 tells us how God addresses our need:
“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.”
God never leaves us floundering when trials come our way. He comes alongside us and lends us His almighty hand. That’s what the word “helps” means in Romans 8:26. The rescue becomes a joint effort.
How does God help us?
By giving us the Holy Spirit to pray for us when we haven’t got a clue what to do. Sometimes, in the midst of our muddle, we don’t even know how to pray. Words fail, and the most we can muster is a feeble, “Help!”
That’s okay. We needn’t feel guilty, and we need not panic because the Holy Spirit steps in and cries out on our behalf. He intercedes for us. He takes our cares and concerns to God the Father during those times when we feel completely overwhelmed.
Life being what it is, we will face situations in which we can do nothing to help ourselves. Nada. That can be a scary place, and we might feel completely alone there. But we are not alone. The Holy Spirit sees our desperation and, as our rescuer, willingly dives into that situation. He comes alongside, stays with us, and gives us the spiritual help we need.
Back to the boating parallel
When a boater in distress calls for help, the nearest vessel and the Coast Guard rush to the rescue. They willingly come alongside to help because that’s what they do. The boater might not have a clue how to help himself, but those in the know lend their expertise. They put themselves in the situation that’s causing distress and face the emergency with the boater.
Perhaps you’re in a place of distress today. Maybe your marriage is in trouble, or you’re struggling with a secret sin.
Maybe you’re worried sick about the choices your kids are making. Perhaps you’re in financial or medical distress. Maybe your life has just taken an unexpected turn that’s left you brokenhearted.
If you’re in a situation that calls for immediate help, be encouraged with this:
- You are not alone. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, then the Holy Spirit lives in you and is always with you.
- Your situation is not hopeless. God is a God of hope, and not just a little. He promises to give us hope that overflows when we trust in Him. He’s fulfilling a purpose of eternal magnitude. We can’t understand His ways now, but we can trust His wisdom and goodness and sovereignty.
- You don’t have to figure this out on your own. The Holy Spirit knows everything there is to know about your situation and He will guide you.
May I pray for you?
“Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to be our helper in time of distress. Thank You for coming to our rescue when we cry out to You for help. Thank You for coming alongside us, for giving us wisdom and strength, and for interceding on our behalf. We trust You, Lord, to rescue us because You are strong, wise and good. And You have eternal purposes in mind. Help us to rest in these truths. In Jesus’ name, amen.”