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  • Writer's pictureMegan L. Anderson

The Spirit Descends

Take a moment to refresh, refocus, and refine your faith.

What do we do when words refuse to flow? When our tongues weigh so heavy with grief they fail in forming sounds adequately expressing our deepest lament? When we’ve been abandoned, betrayed, abused, and baited? When our souls ache and throb from the core outward, beating in tempo why, why, why, why?

The Spirit descends. The very essence of God draws near and “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” (Romans 8:26, NIV). He meets us in our inarticulate moments, mourns with us, comforts us, and takes our pain willingly upon himself. God’s own Spirit pleads on our behalf, carrying the messages of our hearts to the Father in their purest form. The Lord does not require fancy words or rehearsed prayers. He asks for our naked, bleeding, shattered hearts bared, “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” (vs. 27). It is in our frailest, most honest moments we experience his strength at its most tender.

Our pain needs no dressing in poetry to appear before the Healer. Hymns cannot obscure our conditions from God’s sight. Will we lay our wounds open to him and allow his Spirit to wordlessly speak ease into our burning? Our hurts were felt more keenly in his own flesh, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them,” and only he administers the heart balm that saves and restores to glory (Hebrews 7:25). To accept, we must be still and know that he is God – the God who took on illness, rejection, abuse, loss, and even death for our sakes (Psalm 46:10). There was no poetry in that, only raw relentless love.

So we bring him our silent cries in confidence that he hears us, he understands these complaints, and will answer in compassion though we cannot tell how. We seek him out together as a band of the broken, digging holes in roofs for one another, carrying each other in turn when we run short of wisdom, answers, and understanding (Mark 2:1-12). We lend words to the ailing when they can find none of their own, and invite the Spirit to speak healing through us, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick personal well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:15-16).

When language fails, leaving our mouths agape in agonized silence, when every atom of being pangs in anguish, we are not left alone to bleed out questions and confusion. The Spirit inclines himself toward us, calling upon the healthy members to mend our wounds, for “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:26a). And together he restores us. Together he makes us whole.

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