Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)
Late one night, I sat downstairs in front of the large window. I hadn’t turned on any lights because the moon cast enough to make even reading my Bible possible. I wasn’t doing as much reading as just holding tight to that precious book.
I struggled for the right words of protection to pray for my son fighting in the Middle East. Then God brought to mind Romans 8:28. It’s a verse that I’m slightly ashamed to admit has often irritated me. Truthfully I’m not as aggravated by the verse itself as by the way believers throw it around, no matter what the circumstances. It always seems to be the first bandage we reach for.
As this verse came to my mind, I had to make an effort not to give a mental eye-roll. Really, Lord? In these desperate circumstances, you’re going to throw this at me?
Still, reluctantly, I turned to that passage, steeling myself for the verse I knew by heart. Instead, what caught my eye were the two verses before it. These were also infinitely familiar, and I’d turned to them frequently during these trying times.
But I’d never read the three together–as one complete thought.
That night I did, and I found such comfort. In the back of my mind I’d always worried that if I didn’t pray exactly right, I might somehow contribute to some unthinkable catastrophe in my son’s life. Writing this now shows–in black and white–how utterly crazy a thought it was. But that was how I felt at the time. And talking with others who had a soldier deployed, I found I wasn’t the only one who’d struggled with this.
Those verses addressed that fear directly and totally refocused my prayer life. Where once I’d prayed with hesitation, I now stormed the gates of Heaven with abandon. Confidence that God’s Spirit would intercede and make my feeble attempts strong and clear strengthened my heart.
God used that now-beloved passage to remind me that I am never alone when I pray. What passages have brought you special comfort as you prayed for a loved one? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.