I started my career as a newswriter for the morning show at a local news station. The news is negative and full of bad things—but imagine how hard it is to be the gatekeeper of the news.

I went in to work each day around 1:00 a.m. Part of my job was listening to police scanners all night, training my ears to pick up words like shooting or accident. We had to decide which stories were newsworthy. The longer I stayed, the more my fears escalated. My heart was pierced daily.

I did the only thing I could do: I built an impenetrable wall around my heart. I couldn’t let the hurt of the world touch me. But I kept my wall intact long after I left that job.

Over the years, I watched women cry over bad news in their lives—sickness, death, job loss, pain. But I wouldn’t shed a tear. I couldn’t feel their pain. I couldn’t have compassion. My heart was closed off.

Then God called me to be the women’s ministry director at my church, and He challenged me to tear down that wall. He knew I couldn’t be effective if I couldn’t feel compassion.

Slowly, brick by brick, I let the wall crumble and exposed my heart. It hasn’t been easy; this world has so much pain. In fact, it’s groaning.

As I was studying Romans 8:18–30 recently, I read the word groaning, and it took on a whole new meaning for me. In the original Greek, the word denotes a pain that stems from the knowledge that this is not how the world was meant to be. The suffering, the pain, the heartache of this world—it all feels wrong because it is wrong.

We were created for perfection, but we live in an imperfect world. Every pain we experience here reminds us that we await eternity. We eagerly hope for what God has promised us: a world with no more tears, no more pain, no more death, and no more sadness. (See Revelation 21:4.)

But in the meantime, God knew that life here wouldn’t be easy. Fortunately, He didn’t leave us to wrestle with our pain alone. He gave us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who resides in us when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t just live in us, He guides, protects, examines, and even prays for us.

I love Romans 8:26. It says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

This verse comforts my hurting heart and reminds me that it’s okay if I don’t know what to pray. It’s okay to feel weak, unsure, and confused. God knows there will be times when I am simply overwhelmed by life.

Paul goes on in Romans 8 to say that not only does the Holy Spirit search our hearts and pray for us, but He prays for us in accordance with the will of God. We may not be perfect, but we have a Holy Spirit who perfectly prays for us. He knows exactly what we need, and He goes regularly to our heavenly Father on our behalf.

I’m so grateful that God has provided what we need for life. We don’t have to close ourselves off from others or be afraid of what lies ahead. God is with us. He is for us. And He offers the gift of His Spirit to walk each step of life with us.