“The Spirit helps us in our weakness…” Romans 8:26
Several weekends ago, at a family gathering in Colorado, we decided to take a group rafting trip down one of the Colorado rivers. We scouted out the best place that was close to where we were staying and eighteen of us drove to one of the many rafting companies located on Clear Creek. We plopped down our money, received our gear and loaded up for the ride of our lives. Our guides were your typical river guys who, under normal circumstances, you probably wouldn’t trust with your lives, but with the anticipation of a future adrenaline rush, we signed our waivers and loaded up for our safety drills. We didn’t think twice about signing the waivers. (Though we found out afterwards that this year there have been several drownings on that same river with commercial raft companies…)
We spent about 25 minutes going through different safety drills and learning how to row in unison. We were taught how to respond when the “All-in!” signal was called, which is rather like playing musical chairs on a small raft. In one of the drills, our guide taught us how to help somebody up if they should they fall off the boat, which is basically by grabbing the straps on their life jackets and fall back into the raft bringing them with you. The “swimmer” has a part to play in that they have to trust the rescuer and let them pull them to safety.
I was pretty happy when I heard that the course we signed up for meant that we’d be going down twelve class IV rapids. What I wasn’t too happy about was that I was planning on being on the same boat as my daughter. She had some fears about the rafting trip, because when she was in elementary school, at one of our camping trips in the Smokies, she fell off an inner tube and was pinned below the water and the rocks. Our son, David, jump off his tube and rescued her from the rushing water. It was a pretty horrifying experience for all of us.
So, our plan was that I would be in the same boat so I could protect her, but she ended up joining the “Girl Cousins” raft.
The rafts were launched and our raft was the last one of six rafts. Our raft held the tour captain, meaning that our guide was responsible for the safety of all the other rafts. Everything was going great until we heard a cry for help, and as we turned the bend of the river, we saw a body rushing away from the raft. Our guide yelled out, “Get rowing, we’ve got to get them out of the water!” Every fear rushed into my head as I imagined that was Jaclyn floating powerless down the river. I yelled out to my other team, “Is that Jaclyn? Let’s hurry!” We couldn’t catch up so we really didn’t know what was happening. I watched this whole scary scene in living color and felt totally helpless. The end of the story is a good one: that wasn’t Jaclyn floating in the river, and the person who did fall out didn’t sustain any injuries. I was so relieved!
The Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Thank God he doesn’t leave us alone; he comes to us. One of the interesting things about this word “help” in the original Greek language of the Bible is that it is a combination of three words which mean, “along with.” It also adds the meaning of “on the opposite side” and “to take hold of.” You put these together and it means “to take hold of, together with us, over to the other side.” The words of Jesus when he said, “I will send you a helper who comes alongside when you call and pull you into safety.” The Holy Spirit takes ahold of our spirit and leans back and lifts us up.
The Holy Spirit is there for you!