(nothing in all creation) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Verse 39 (NIV)
While in Tanzania I was witness to a trial held by a neighbourhood group that had the authority to bring guilty people to trial in the nearby city. Using “switch sticks” on people’s bare backs and the bottoms of their feet, they were beaten until the desired answer was given. When I walked away from that event, I said to myself; “I would confess to almost anything to have that beating stop.” My pastor friend who was there and had been falsely accused of theft told me he had already felt the pain of the switch. Then he said nothing would ever make him tell a lie and disgrace Jesus.
In this passage Paul was naming some of the hardships he had faced and then he declares to his own soul, and to ours, “No, not persecution. No, not famine. No, not that, or that, or that, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Why? Because God’s love is unshakeable, and God gives us the strength not only to face but also to conquer the enemy’s attacks. How? Through the finished work of Christ’s victorious death and resurrection.
Paul says neither the present nor the future will threaten our confidence in God’s loving grip on us. When my mother was given the news, she had only two weeks to live, she did not shed a tear. She knew that at the end of this life there was a glorious new beginning that would last through eternity. No, not even death could separate her from the love of God, rather death would usher her into the presence of the Saviour she loved.
Is there anything in your life that feels too overwhelming to handle? The power of the living, loving God guarantees a strong grip on you as you face your hardship head-on. Never give up.
Lord, we are weak, but you are strong. When the troubles of life pummel us, help us to find comfort in your love that never lets go. Help us to keep looking to you. In Jesus, Amen.