Reading: Romans 8:12-39
The Holy Spirit works in us so that we may stand firm in that faith: that we are children of God, and that we cry: Abba, Father. That He is our Father. That is an enormous comfort which we may have! A complete certainty. That brings us great joy! Comfort and joy, not only in days that our faith is strong. Comfort and joy, not only in days that everything goes well. But also in difficult times. In times of struggle. In times when we doubt, when we are uncertain if God is still there, for us. In times that we suffer.
And those difficult times will come!
Around this time in several of our churches, young men and women may publicly profess their faith. That is a very special day in their life. A very important day. You say here before God and His church that you believe in Him and accept His promises, which He gave to you within the covenant. And that is beautiful that you can do that. God wants to live with you in that covenant relationship. For that He came to you and gave you His promises. Now God also expects from you that you respond to that, by professing your faith.
But don’t think that from now on it will only get better. That it will all come natural. Don’t think that from now on, you will always be strong in your faith and that there will never be a moment that you don’t doubt. Or moments of despair. These moments will come. When you get older. Your whole life long. Until the end. Until you die.
Young people, ask your parents, speak about it with your grandparents, talk to the older members of the congregation. It is always good as young people and older members to meet and speak together about faith. Talk about it. And ask them, about their faith. And then you will discover, if they speak openly about their faith, that also they will have the same struggles which you will have from time to time. Nobody is immune for it.
Sometimes there can be so many questions, so much what makes us uncertain, sometimes it can happen that brothers and sisters aren’t even sure if it is all true. It can happen. It can also be that they fall back in a sinful life. Because they get discouraged in their struggle against sin. And then it is important, if it happens to us, that we don’t turn away from God, but that we cry ‘Abba Father’. That is what the Spirit works in us. The Spirit Whom God gave to us, and Whom He will never take away from His elect.
Therefore, even if it is dark in your life, even if you have so many struggles, so many questions, so many doubts, that it is hard to believe, then cry out to God: ‘Abba, Father’. That is the most important in your life as Christian, that you always go to God. And that you call Him Father. And Father will help you! Because you are His child! Even if you don’t know what to pray, then fold your hands, close your eyes and say ‘Father’. Father in heaven.
And then the apostle Paul says in verse 26 of Romans 8: ‘Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.’
Even if you don’t know how to pray, what to say, what to pray for, then just pray, just go to God, your Father and call Him ‘Father’. And the Holy Spirit knows what is in your heart and He brings it before the Father and He intercedes for us, in such a way as we can’t say in human words.
That is it, what is important in our lives. That relation of dependence on God, our Father. Not a prayer full of beautiful words and long sentences. But that attitude of dependence on God. And then, sometimes, one word is enough: ‘Father’. That is faith. Saying ‘Father’, even in situations in which it seems as if everything is lost, and we don’t have anything to expect. Even then, we keep trusting in God and depending on Him, and we will call Him ‘Father’. Because we are His children. And we may and we mus trust in Him. Because He will be there for us, always.
And then, if we do so, then Satan will be ashamed, because he was not able to separate us from God and from Christ. And God will be honoured. Not by our great deeds, not by our beautiful words, not by our wisdom and our excellent answers to all the difficult questions with which this world tries to undermine our faith, but just by that one word: Father.
Then we may know if we are children, then we are heirs. Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. As Paul says in verse 17.
Children of our Father in heaven.