Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39)

As I write this blog, I am sitting in my parents' sun room, with the sunshine thawing the chill out of the air on a tranquil late summer morning.  Right now there are no major hardships threatening my peace of mind, though I know that could change at any time.  Yeah, finances are really stretched right now (so what else is new?), but otherwise things are okay.  It's easy to feel a bit guilty at times like these, because, as an elder in our church, I am aware of some really deep needs in our congregation.

There's a dear lady with maybe only days to live, because of a liver saturated with cancer.  And a man who is struggling to keep his failing eyesight even as he wrestles with God  over nearly three years of unemployment.  Add to that a church leader agonizing over his grown daughter as she succumbs to alcoholism and all the poor choices that go with it.  And another leader who hasn't had a decent night's sleep in years and who is desperately scrambling to keep from being sucked down the black hole of depression.  And there is much more...

Chances are that today either you are at the end of your rope with your sweaty hands starting to slip, or you know someone else who is right there right now.

What does God have to say at times like these?  "Don't worry; be happy"?  Hardly.  Today's Scripture looks suffering straight in the eye and provides solid encouragement when life decides to play hardball with us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."   (Romans 8:35-39)

There you have it.  No promises of an easy life, are there?  That wouldn't have cut it in first century Rome when torched Christians were being used as street lights by Nero.  Nor will it cut it today or in the future when things will really get hot for followers of Jesus.

True, God sometimes does intervene to spare us from life's greatest pains.  Praise God when He does!  Cancer is healed.  Blind eyes see. Jobs are provided.  Prodigals come home.  Joy and rest are restored.  But He doesn't always work that way...not always.  So we seek the Lord and pray and wait and hope for God to come through miraculously.

But what if He doesn't?  What if His plans are not to take us out of suffering, but to take us through it?  What is the anchor for our souls when hellish hurricanes threaten to shred our lives?

Here it is:  God and His love will never bail on us.  Never.  The worst that the world and the devil can throw at us do not...not even for an instant...endanger our secure standing in the love of God in Christ.  In fact, through His love, today's passage reveals, we are more than conquerors!  Even when we as the sheep of God's pasture are captured, skewered and roasted alive, we are more than conquerors.

How can that be? the end...we win.  God's love remains with us, sustains us, comforts us, strengthens us, emboldens us, and safely carries us into eternity with Christ...with our spirits and souls unscathed, and with new bodies to boot!

But those who hate Christ...both His invisible and visible enemies...the ones who seek to destroy us...they lose big time.  And one day you will get to see it.  God's love will make sure of that.

So, for today, no matter what you are going through, let God's love fill up all the wounded and worried places.  He lives in you and so He can do that and He wants to do that...time and time and time again.  Nothing...absolutely nothing...can ever cut you off from the flow of God's deep love in Christ Jesus our Lord.  And that is enough.  Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment