Romans 8: 35-37
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“In all these things”…
Those 4 words sum up the totality of the human experience. Filled with disappointments, hurts, trials, and struggles, life is hard and filled with pain.
As an innocent child we think life is all fun and play, and it is supposed to be that way. As I was looking at my son on his 15th birthday yesterday I was already recognizing so much of the innocence lost in him.
He has parents who are dysfunctional in our own hurts. That’s not to say we don’t love him, I truly believe we both would lay our life down for him; but he has had to deal with arguments, disappointments, confusion, over-the-top angry outbursts and unprotected passivity and one that breaks my heart the most and which I personally take the most responsibility for, growing up in a mostly godless home.
As we grow up (age is probably a more accurate term) we are faced with the realities that life is not fair. Bad people doing bad things can gain greater rewards than good people doing the right things. Patience can sometimes means something never comes. Perseverance can just mean it took longer before we cut our losses and were forced to give up. Endurance can simply mean we didn’t die in the process.
Without an eternal hope in Christ Jesus there really is little to live for in this world. Material gains, power, accolades, pleasures of the flesh? These are all fleeting, falling from our grasp as fast as they were acquired leaving one to wonder “what am I doing and why”.
This may seem like a dark and depressing post, but it really isn’t.
For the unmistakable promise of God is that there is NOTHING in this world or beyond that can separate us from the Love of Christ.
That is GREAT NEWS!
God will always love me, good or bad, strong or weak, young or old, healthy or sick, free or persecuted, through easy sailing or rough seas.
Without the gift of grace, compassion, mercy and progressive healing that only comes from getting to know our Righteous Savior Jesus, there is little hope of things getting better. Especially with the darkness that is overtaking the world (so it seems).
But we have the hope of things to come, of being able to not only persevere, endure and conquer, but even more than that, a promise of life throughout eternity in Paradise, with no more suffering, pain or tears and in the presence of our Lord and Savior.
We each as disciples of Christ are charged with bringing a piece of that heaven to earth; to love others as he loves us.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Love is the foundation that makes it all work out. If we offer grace as we were shown grace, if we offer compassion as we were shown compassion, if we can offer encouragement as we are encouraged, be helpful as we are helped, offer hope as we are given hope.
To be a light-bearer for Christ is to say to the world, there is a Healer, a Savior who if sought can change your heart but we must model that heart change or our words will have no substance.
Rules without relationship equals rebellion.
Just as my journey with Christ has been one of having to get to know how much He loves me first so that I will choose to be obedient to His call and will for my life, we too must show others how much we love them first before they will care about our proclamation that God is love.
Father God, I don’t know why my heart is heavy this morning when looking at the Good News that you will always love us just as we are, broken and frail. You know us, you know the goodness we are capable of and witness the destruction caused by our weaknesses. Lord I want only to live a life that sings Your praise through my actions, how I love others matters but only after I realize just how deeply you love me first. I sense this 3 year journey has been about just that, me trying to prove myself to others, myself and even You so You would be proud and You constantly reminding me that what I do doesn’t matter, it is who You are and what You’ve done that everything hinges on. Help me Lord God this day see only Your face and not my own, help me to not think less of myself, but think of myself less. In all things, Your will not mine be done. In Jesus name I pray…