He Prays for You
December 16, 2018
I saw another article on the topic this week. We are lonely. The Wall Street Journal article even called baby boomers, “The Loneliest Generation,” saying,
Baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, and the resulting loneliness is a looming public health threat. About one in 11 Americans age 50 and older lacks a spouse, partner or living child, census figures and other research show. That amounts to about eight million people in the U.S. without close kin, the main source of companionship in old age, and their share of the population is projected to grow.
Policy makers are concerned this will strain the federal budget and undermine baby boomers’ health. Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive.
Along with financial issues including high debt and declining pensions, social factors such as loneliness are another reason boomers are experiencing more difficult retirement years than previous generations.…
“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful,” says Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “If we want to achieve health for our population, especially vulnerable people, we have to address loneliness.”
But you don’t have to be over 50, without a spouse and without children to be lonely. You can live in the downtown of a busy city, have 1200 Facebook friends, be married with children and grandchildren, and still feel isolated and alone. And the Christmas season only exacerbates the feeling for most people. There may be many reasons for that feeling of seclusion, but one of them certainly is the weight of our problems. We live in a world where sickness and sin are abundant and no one can remove the implications of our sin or the sins of others against us, and no one can remove the suffering of our illness. Even when in a healthy, loving, and engaged church, people can feel alone.
But, Paul tells us in Romans 8, God has provided an answer for our loneliness — it is the helping comfort and prayers of the Holy Spirit for us. Contemplating our sorrowful position, Paul says in vv. 26-27 —
While the believer suffers, the Spirit is always the ever-present Helper.
In this passage, Paul opens our eyes to see three characteristics of the Spirit that minister to us while we are suffering —
- The Spirit’s Necessity (v. 26a)
- The Spirit’s Help (v. 26b)
- The Spirit’s Effectiveness (v. 27)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 8:26-27.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.