Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 ESV)
We live in the age of knowledge. If you want to know anything, you can find it out! A few years ago, I attended a conference hosted by Josh McDowell. Josh McDowell was an atheist who set out to prove that Christianity was not true. The result of his study was a book entitled More Than a Carpenter in which he beautifully defends the Christian faith. In his talk, he talked about knowledge. I do not remember the exact figures, but it went something like this. From the time of the Romans (near Jesus’ time) until the 1500’s, there was relatively little increase in knowledge. Then came the discovery of the western continents (North and South America) and the expansion of the world. As this happened, knowledge began to increase much faster than before. Knowledge, up until that time, double once approximately every 40-50 years. With the industrial revolution, knowledge increased once every 40 years. Then, we entered the 1800’s knowledge began to increase every 20 years. Now, with the advancement in modern technology, knowledge doubles every two years.
Someone has said, “The change in the intellectual climate has happened while knowledge increases at an unprecedented pace. It has been estimated that in this century the amount of scientific knowledge has doubled every ten years. It is important to notice that our rising concern for humanity coincides with prodigious developments in theoretical and practical knowledge. These developments are not an accidental circumstance of the change in the psychological climate — quite the contrary. They are an essential factor of that change. The more we know and the more we can do, the more we doubt and the more we worry. Our doubts and our worries appear to be commensurable with our knowledge. Whatever were the intentions and hopes of the originators of the idea of progress, certainly they did not intend to make life more insecure or worrisome.
So when we come to a sentence like, “we do not know how” we don’t like it! However, the truth is that many people do not know how to live life as you should. You want to succeed, but success seems to e;ice you. You want to be a better husband, but you don’t know how. You don’t like how you lose control, but your temper seems to get the best of you. In an age of ever increasing knowledge, we can find comfort in the almost embarrassing phrase, “I don’t know how.”
What happens when we admit that we don’t know how? The Spirit helps. This word helps is a wonderful word in the Greek. The word help in the English doesn’t do this word justice. It more accurately means, “to lend a hand together with, at the same time with one.” What happens? Here Paul beautifully pictures the Holy Spirit taking hold at our side at the very time of our weakness and before too late. At the moment of weakness, not a moment too soon and not a moment too late, the Holy Spirit comes to our aid, walks alongside us, lends us a hand, and walks with us through the weakness.
Paul wants to drive home the point. He says, “The Spirit Himself to show that when you are struggling the worst, God does not send a substitute—He comes Himself to your aid.” And what does He do? He intercedes. This is the only time this word appears in the New Testament. It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who happens on someone who is in trouble and in his behalf pleads “with unuttered groanings” or with “sighs that baffle words.”
You have a Savior who rescues and the Spirit who regenerates.