I have only been called in for Jury Duty once. And sometime soon I will tell you how I managed to get my self selected for a trial (because apparently playful attempts at clever banter with the judge is “frowned upon” in a court of Law). But today I want to tell you a little bit about case I was selected for. It was pretty awful. Not the crime itself, but the situation. A woman was suing a certain superstore that starts with a “W” and ends with “almart”. It had been almost one year since the accident (she slipped and fell in a puddle of shampoo that had fallen off a shelf) occurred and, here is the bad part, she was representing herself. Just let that sink in a moment. Even if she had the best lawyer money can buy, I am still fairly certain that losing was in her future. It was excruciating to watch this woman “play” lawyer. By the end we, the jury, just felt sorry for her. The professional and powerful lawyer representing the superstore took full advantage of the fact that she had no idea how to argue her case. And the judge was no help. Every single time she made a statement or asked a question and the other lawyer objected, the judge would tell her to “rephrase the question/statement.” That’s when it got especially painful to watch. Bless her heart, she tried her best to think of 3 or 4 other ways to ask the exact same question, but she could never quite get her point across without being told to rephrase it, as if she had been to law school. In the end she was broken-down and humiliated.
Basically, she ended up losing, partly because she couldn’t seem to express herself in a way that was acceptable to the judge or the cut-throat defense attourney. Her groanings, her cries for help and for someone to truly “hear”, her fell on deaf ears. She had no chance before she even opened her mouth. But unlike that woman, we do. Maybe not in the presence of a judge, but of the Judge. Before a God who is just, but also loving. And most importantly, a God who knows, before we even open our mouth, what we are trying to say. What we need. A God who doesn’t expect us to know exactly what we want and be able to express it flawlessly before He will even listen. Through God’s clear Word to us, He tells us in Romans 8:23 that even when our own words are unclear, His spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” This is very good news. Because outside of a 650 word blog, I struggle with clarity. I am often hell-bent on getting what I want but at the same time am pretty certain that it doesn’t line up with what I need. What I ask Him for may not be good for me. And that’s on a good day! When I am under emotional duress, stand back! When my heart is in anguish and I can’t see straight or focus on anything but the feelings weighing down on me, His Spirit in me steps in. He takes the jumbled letters of the alphabet in my head and puts them into the words He needs to hear. My”groanings” suffice. He knows and hears our pain, but “groaning” isn’t reserved for just the bad stuff. By definition, “groaning” denotes a deep inarticulate sound conveying pain, despair, pleasure, etc.” Have you ever been so overwhelmed by His goodness and blessings in your life that you are speechless? Again, His Spirit can communicate the depth and intensity of feelings we can’t define with our meager vocabulary.
The best news of all of this, is that when we can’t trust ourselves to ask for what’s best for us, we can trust that if we are humble before God, His Spirit will intercede on our behalf “in accordance with God’s Will.” I truly want to live my life aligned with God’s plan for me. I think most of us do at some level. It’s ever so much richer than living life on Self-Will. Matthew 6:8 assures us that God knows what we need before we ask Him, before we ourselves know or are willing to admit what we need.
My “groaning” today comes from a deep place in my soul that wants God to know the fullness of my gratitude for being a Judge who understands what I am trying to say without making me repeatedly “rephrase the question.”