“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:35-39
This passage of Scripture is both well known and loved by many. However, it is also perhaps, one of the hardest ones to put into practice in the daily life of many Believers.
We are told that nothing shall separate us from God’s love for us. And that is greatly comforting, even inspirational. However, it can be difficult to remember this truth and walk in this truth when trials come into our lives.
Consider, for example, how Jesus’ disciples responded when faced with a life-threatening storm:
“… Master, carest thou not that we perish?” ~ Mark 4:38b
They knew of Jesus’ power and they knew of His love for them and all men. Moreover, He was physically with them in the boat during the storm. Yet, just as we would have done, they wondered if He cared for them. When faced with the storms, and the trials of life, it can be hard to remember God’s love.
What is the solution? How did Paul, how did the disciples eventually learn and inculcate the truth of this passage into their lives? How did they move from uncertainty to certainty about God’s love for them? How did they learn to rest in the assuredness of God’s love in the midst of great trials and storms; even when faced with death?
A key word in the passage is ‘persuaded’. To be persuaded one must be given evidence. Lawyers try to persuade juries and/or judges. Scientists try to persuade us of the truth of their findings. A man tries to persuade his beloved of his love. And in every instance, the persuader must provide the ‘persuadee’ with evidence.
In other words, we come to truly believe the promises in this passage over time as we experience God, as we walk with Him in faith and see that it is true: that He does really love us and He really never abandons us when the going gets rough.
It is easy to love the words in the passage. But to really believe them, we may have to experience their truth first. The experience of God’s faithfulness as we endure those storms and trials of life will convince us of His unrelenting love for us.
The disciples finally got it when Jesus was resurrected. After, His death on the cross, they felt abandoned and confused. But when the resurrected Jesus visited them again and again, the finally realized that truly, not even death could separate them from their Lord.
Likewise, for many of us, it is Jesus’ constant reassurance when we are down and out, in despair and doubt, that will finally persuade us that He will always be by our side.
So my brothers and sisters,
Keep holding on when life gets tough,
Keep holding on when waves get rough;
God is not some distant stranger
Looking down from up above
He’s by your side, and nothing can
Separate you from His love
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee… Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” ~ Isaiah 43:1-3