One Christmas our adult daughter gave me a collage she had created. She said it was a patchwork of my life from her perspective.
I saw things I love: hummingbirds, butterflies, and leafy trees with trunks too huge to wrap my arms around. I saw the imprint of her and her brother’s hands in the cement we poured one year.
A pineapple represented a hospitality which translated to many meals for her and her brother’s friends, who now reminisce about their favorites when they see me. “Godlight,” a scene of the sky, pictured rays of sunshine that peeked out from a cloud and swept down to us. And finally, there in the bottom corner of the collage, I saw these five typed words: “Sighs too deep for words.”
Oh my, what a tell. This was the essence of what I wanted my daughter to learn from me, and I was glad!
She was referring to Romans 8:26. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”
We had talked about this verse during low times in her life. Life is hard. Tears. Changes. Disappointments. Tragedies. Inexplicable loss. While we are here on this earth, we try to help our children through these events. We try to cushion the hurt, explain the unexplainable, and even attempt to make it go away.
But what happens when we are gone? Who do they lean on then? When I saw those five words, I knew our daughter would be just fine. And our son. We might be gone, but God will be there, and the Spirit will be there to help them.
They have learned through seeing lives that show how God can be counted on to love us no matter the circumstances. They have seen that sometimes words just don’t say it. Sadness or confusion cannot be expressed. But there He is – the Holy Spirit – helping in our weakness and inability to speak, interceding for us with sighs too deep for words so that what is inexpressible in our hearts still gets through to God.
Combine that with the knowledge that Jesus came to earth and experienced a physical life that brought Him to His knees to seek help from His Father, and we have all that we need to get through our lives here on earth. In John 14: 15-18, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to us once He was gone. He knew what we needed.
That we are loved and that we are not alone – isn’t that the foundation that we want our children to have? If we have taught our children to trust God and go to Him no matter the circumstance, they will have all they need.
When we have to leave, He remains with them.