“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . 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 8:35,37-39, NIV
Life can be tough – very tough. And when we are going through difficult times it is tempting to imagine that God must have left us, or doesn’t love us or, even, that He doesn’t exist! When Paul listed out the various difficulties people can experience, such as trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or the sword, he wasn’t just making up a list of imaginary possibilities, he was casting his mind back to circumstance in his own life, and those of other apostles, when they had literally experienced all of these things, as they suffered for the sake of the Gospel. Had God left them? Not at all. They had simply come face to face with the reality that the god of this world hates the truth about Jesus and will do everything he possibly can to oppose those who follow Him.
The fact also is that we are living in a fallen world – a world that has chosen sin as its preferred option. And bad things can happen, even to Christians. Believers are not exempt from suffering. Ask Job! He experienced a catalogue of personal disasters, but he refused to turn His back on God and in time God gave him back in abundance, far more than he had ever lost during his times of suffering. And that is the reality – whether we enjoy the rewards of God’s blessing in this life or the next, what we can be absolutely sure of is that they are real and certain.
This is what Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12)
What a comfort it is to know that whatever difficulty we may be going through, there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I once endured an extreme situation in my business years. I had made a grave mistake and ignored the clear direction of the Lord. The end result was a crisis of my own making which could have ended in my bankruptcy – even my life was threatened! I was deeply repentant and cried out to God for His mercy and deliverance. In Psalm 139:8 the Psalmist says that even if he descended to the depths of hell God would be there to hear his cry. And so I found it to be true.
I cried out to God. And He did deliver me. I discovered first hand the truth of our Scripture for today – that nothing can separate us from the love of God. In the depths of my need He heard my repentance and my cry for help. While I don’t look back on that incident with any sense of pride, I do look back on it with huge thanksgiving. For I know beyond any shadow of doubt that our Scripture for today is true!
Prayer: Thank You for the comfort of knowing that whatever the circumstances of life we have to go through that we can never be separated from Your love. Help me, Lord, to keep on looking to You, even when it seems as though dark clouds are over me and I cannot see the way ahead. I know that Your love will never leave me and I choose to trust You in every circumstance of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.