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Friday, March 9, 2018

Responding with the Spirit of Jesus to Human Pain

Sorrow hung heavily, like a shroud, over my soul that day. It had become painful to push through each task at hand. That’s when Jesus broke through to me. Suddenly, I felt His gentle hands on my cheeks. He ever so tenderly tilted my gaze upwards as He held my face. My eyes saw His. They were full of pain. My pain. He was feeling my pain.

Mercifully, that troubling season has come and gone, but the truth of that moment remains with me. Jesus is here in our suffering. His emotions are wrapped up in our heartache. Walking through the pulsating, stabbing agony with us, He feels it more keenly, more sharply, more deeply, than we even do. He identifies with us so closely in our anguish that He calls us “My brothers.” When someone ministers to us, alleviating our distress, He experiences great personal relief. Through the sound waves of eternity, His voice cries out gratefully to that person, “As you have done it unto My brothers, so you have done it unto Me!”

Jesus does not stop with feeling and identifying with our grieved emotions. He responds to them. His indescribably profound compassion is inextricably woven into the flow of His power on our behalf. Specifically, as He is touched with the feeling of our afflictions, He channels His lion’s roar of passion into intercession on our behalf. He is our great Intercessor, gone through the heavens to make unceasing prayers on our behalf to the Father. Through this post and the next, I will be unpacking both the principles of His own intercession and His invitation to us into partnership with Him as He stands in this role.

(Important note: Intercession does not need to be one of your main spiritual gifts for this article to relate to you. If you desire to know how to be a part of releasing Jesus’ power into your world to bring healing to its brokenness, read on!)

Soaring Joy and Searing Pain, Simultaneously?

If you have some understanding of how gloriously peaceful the heavenly places are, it may be confusing to think of Jesus as sorrowful. If the atmosphere around His throne is alive with joy inexpressible and resplendent with light more brilliant than the sun… then how could any sadness exist there? Especially since the book of Revelation tells us there is no weeping in Heaven?

I asked Him this exact question. In response, He breathed a Scripture from Isaiah into my spirit:

“For this is what the high and lofty One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15, NIV).

I began to understand. He lives in “a high and holy place” – which is Heaven – and with the lowly in spirit – here on fallen, dysfunctional Planet Earth. It’s not either/or. It’s both. He inhabits eternity, exulting in endless bliss… and He is right here in our mess, weeping with us. Because He is God, He has infinite capacity within Himself to experience all of this at once. He has room for joy inexpressible, full of glory and for the searing pain of unspeakable loss, simultaneously. It all fits within the immeasurable space of His exquisitely beautiful heart.

From the moment that Jesus stepped out of the eternal realm and into Mary’s womb, He brought fulfillment to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. God had announced from before the beginning of time that the Savior’s name would be Immanuel, God with us. He came to take up residence in a human body. He came to walk in our sandals, to find out what all of our sorrows tasted like. He came to drink them to the last drop.

Holy Spirit with Us… With ALL of Us

Everything that He experienced would then become fuel for His intercession when He had conquered death and sat down at the right hand of the Father. When He knew that new role was fast approaching, He invited His close friends to a private dinner to prepare them for the coming transition. There, He earnestly explained to them, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, NKJV).

When Jesus returned to Heaven and the Father exalted Him to the highest place, He kept His promise. He poured out His Spirit on those waiting disciples. The Helper came and indwelt them far more intimately than even Jesus’ presence had been when He lived among them physically. The power He poured out over and through them was exponentially greater than what they had experienced by living in close proximity to Him in the flesh. A new era had begun.

That new era was and is marked by Holy Spirit’s inundating, saturating presence in the earth. He is everywhere. Tragically, so many people are unaware of His nearness. Even some of us Christians have an erroneous concept of Him that perceives Him as elitist. Often we imagine that He limits Himself to visiting and blessing church services. We think of Him as exclusively gracing believers in Jesus Christ with His nearness. This could not be farther from the truth.

Holy Spirit is right now hovering over forlorn prison cells and forgotten hovels. He is immersed in the anguished moments of distraught family members waiting by silent hospital beds. Wherever someone is brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, He is there, exceedingly close. He is the Spirit of Jesus. He is weeping with every grief-stricken soul on the planet. Every single one. His dwelling place is with the lowly; His longing, to revive and restore each heart.

Summoned Into a Holy Partnership

As Jesus incarnate was Immanuel, the Spirit of Jesus in the earth now carries on His Immanuel mission. He executes this charge in a way that is multiplied gloriously beyond what Jesus would have been able to accomplish if He were still in a human body. From His omnipresent position intertwined with humanity’s suffering, Holy Spirit is uniquely positioned to partner with Jesus in intercession. As the book of Romans expresses, “…The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26b, NKJV).

A few verses earlier, we see the concept of groaning associated with the world around us: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (v. 22). As we study this passage as a whole, we gain insight into the Spirit’s work. He is here with us. He is keenly, intensely experiencing the pain and the groaning of the world He brought forth. In response, He cries out in fervent intercession for His creation, with inexpressible groanings of His own.

And this is where you and I come in. This description of Holy Spirit’s guttural groans is actually in the context of our own prayers. To look now at the entire verse, “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.” Left on our own, you and I would not know how to pray adequately. God here is very plainly calling us “weak” in prayer, when it comes to our own resource and ability. We just plain have no idea what needs praying for.

However, we are not left on our own! The Spirit of Jesus, intimately in touch with every problem on the face of the earth, is inside of our bodies, one with our spirits. He knows exactly what to pray, and He is summoning us to join Him on His intercessory quest. Yes, dear one, this includes you. He will pray through you and me, as we allow His passionate supplication to pour through our spirits and out of our mouths. He will bring fulfillment to the purposes of God into the earth, as we lean deeply into Him, following His lead in prayer!

He has been stirring this message in me for months, and I have much more to share with you about it. Please stay tuned for my next post. Together we will explore this partnership into which He is beckoning us – and how He desires to release His thoughts, intents, and redemptive plans through us into His beloved, hurting creation!


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  1. YES YES YES!!! I look forward to more! So rich!

    1. Thank you Lindsey! Your encouragement ever blesses me!

  2. Beautiful!!! Thank you Jennifer :)