“Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted 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, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 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.”
We may not live in physical peril in our country, as other war-torn countries may. We may not be physically persecuted for our faith in this country, as our brothers and sisters are in other nations. Chances are, we are clothed, even though some garments may be tattered and in need of replacing. Chances are, we’re not experiencing a true famine, though we may be eating a steady diet of ramen noodles and instant mac and cheese. However, it is probably safe to say that we are experiencing hardship and distress.
Over the past 60 years, the U.S. unemployment rate averaged 5.7% of those unemployed, but seeking work. Last month that average was 9.1%. The average American home, employed or not, is within $500 of making it or breaking it each month. 70% of us are living from paycheck to paycheck. With a reality like that, it’s no wonder depression and anxiety are on the rise in our country.
As Christians, it can be especially depressing at times. If we’ve ever heard about God’s favor and blessing, and chances are we have, we automatically assume our lack of material prosperity is some sort of punishment from God. What did I do wrong? Why is God punishing me? Why doesn’t He get me out of this mess? Clearly, God doesn’t love me.
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Do you know that God loved us while we were still sinners? We’ve never had to earn His love. He gives it to us freely. He provided a way for us to be able to experience, enjoy, and walk in that love, no matter what our external circumstance looks like. The God of the entire Universe humbled himself, was born into this world as a baby. The Godhead of the Universe, upon whom we depend for our very existence (whether we realize it or not), sent the Son to become a baby, dependent on the very creatures He created. And when He was fully grown and had entered into His ministry, at the appointed time, suffered a gruesome, painful, and lonely death. Why? Because He loved us.
That’s not all, though. Three days later, this man, Jesus Christ, who was fully human and fully God, who had died, came back to life! He conquered death. He didn’t do it for fun. He didn’t do it for show. He did it to break the curse of sin and death over the human race. There is power in the blood of Jesus Christ! It washes away all our sin, and it provides us a way to know God and to walk in His love.
“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 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.”
These things may try to separate us from God, but they can’t do it unless we let them.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross, and follow me.'”
It’s not an easy road to take. It’s not an easy journey being a disciple of Christ, but it is fulfilling and satisfying. It is full of love and compassion, growth and correction, purpose and meaning. It’s a walk in God’s love, and it’s beautiful. If you haven’t already made the decision to walk this road, will you? If you’ve made the decision, but gotten lost on a side trail, will you come back to the main road? Let’s walk in God’s love together. It’s so much better than the darkness of this world.