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Posted on July 28, 2017 2:10 PM by Church Office
Categories: Editorials
When Paul wrote “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” I suspect he was acknowledging that he did not know what the will of God is for which he should be praying.  At least, that is my dilemma:  what is the will of God for which I am praying when I say, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
Isn’t most of our praying focused on what we want God to do for us?  Comfort us, heal us, provide for us, bless us and ours, give peace to us and ours.  We send messages to God as if God does not already know what’s happening here and now, both with us and ours and the rest of humankind wherever they eat and sleep.
In the closing verses of Romans 8, Paul recalls that God knows what is in the mind of the Spirit and that the Spirit intercedes according to God’s will.  Despite the weakness of humankind and its sense of isolation from God and its longing for God, Paul conveys a sacred interconnection between God, God’s Spirit, and God’s creatures.  Furthermore, Paul contends that God uses even those things which reflect the depth of human weakness and turn them for the good.
The lines that follow reinforce this seemingly outrageous claim:  God foreknew, God predestined, God called, God justified, God glorified (8:29-30).  Paul insists that God is the one who designs, desires, and brings about the good (i.e., the salvation of humankind).  No human act can secure this salvation, and no human act can jeopardize this salvation that belongs to God alone (initiated and completed by God’s will).
Claiming God’s loving will for humankind, Paul then asked several “who” questions:  Who is against us?  Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?  Who is to condemn?  Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Rhetorical questions that have no substantive answer other than “well, no one can other than God; but then, God is for us; therefore, no one can.”
Having arrived at the heart of his position, Paul provides a list of threatening events or experiences that we humans perpetrate against one another: trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword (in Clarkesville, we don’t know much about the hell of these experiences known in other places of God’s world).
Paul’s conclusion is that “in Christ” “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (8:37).”  Not only are human actions but also even those powers beyond human (death, angels, demons, principalities … height nor depth … nothing nor anything in all creation) “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (8:39).”
Somedays we may not feel like a “conqueror.”  Somedays we can’t seem to cope.  But when mercy and grace embrace us and we sleep in peace with revealing dreams, we know “Whose” we are and rejoice in the assurance that nothing can separate us from the God of sovereign love and plenteous mercy. 
Blessings and peace with my gratitude and joy,
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