During my quiet time today I delved into My Utmost for His Highest . Good old Oswald used “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword??” Romans 8:35 as the focal point of his message. And rather than regurgitate what he said, I just wanted to touch on what grabbed me.
“Paul was not referring here to imaginary things, but to things that are dangerously real,” Chambers says. Yes! I mean, isn’t that what we fear deep down when we read things like this in God’s word? Maybe we’d only admit it to ourselves that we are afraid that Paul’s simply referring to our horrific, worrisome, worst case scenarios that pop into our minds. No, he’s talking about the real stuff. The junk that happens just from living in a fallen world.
The fender benders, the tornadoes, the failed final exam, the job lay-off, the floods, the identity theft, the wayward child, the broken relationships, the illness that just won’t go away . . . I’m sure we can all insert something here. Because you see, pain is totally subjective. What one person see as horrible, life-altering . . . whatever, another might see as just an inconvenience or simply a bump in the road. The issue of pain, physical or emotional, is not something easily explained or understood (especially not here!) but it’s real.
“I feel sorry for the Christian who doesn’t have something in the circumstances of his life that he wishes were not there,” Chambers says. Why is that? Because when you get down to it, it is in the midst of life’s most painful circumstances, that as a believer, you take stock of your relationship with God. You really do “. . .choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . ” Joshua 24:15. It is those times when we are most broken that we can see God most clearly. And His amazing love.
Oswald adds, “God does not keep His child immune from trouble; He promises, ‘I will be with him in trouble . . .’ ( Psalm 91:15 ). It doesn’t matter how real or intense the adversities may be; nothing can ever separate him (us) from his (our) relationship to God.”
I just want to encourage you today, whoever you are reading this, that really – NOTHING – can separate us from His love. And here’s one of the best things . . . it’s nothing of ourselves, nope. Just Jesus, nothing more. “No guilt in life, no fear in death, This is the power of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath. Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.” – In Christ Alone, Stuart Townend
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
Just for kicks, if you are more interested in delving into the subject of pain – I highly recommend that you look up the following: Paul Brand and Philip Yancey (1993). Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants. Zondervan