In the summer of this past year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria destroyed entire communities and left thousands with their basic needs lacking.
Romans 8:35 - Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
In late winter of 2014, 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped by terrorists and ultimately were viciously beheaded in a horrendous act of persecution.
Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution….
This past month, 58 unsuspecting people were gunned down in Las Vegas while gathering for an evening of enjoyment at a country music festival.
Or famine or nakedness, or peril…
26 people died while worshipping at church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
As I write, 305 died during Friday evening prayers in a mosque in Egypt.
Above are just a few of the tragic losses this world has recently experienced. They do not even begin to reflect the thousands upon thousands of disappointments and losses people experience every day and know all too well.
How, oh how, do we hold on to words of the never-failing love of Christ when the evil and brokenness of this world persist, and our personal experiences want to rage against that promise?
Continue to read verse 35 of Romans 8 and the questions get even bigger.
For Your sake we are being put to death all day long. We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered…
My melancholy soul reads the news of the day and I weep and want to just for one day not to feel from my gut the pain around me. But I must continue to read….
(Vs. 37) BUT in all these things, we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
We are victors. We are conquerors. In all these things.
The words of Romans were penned by the Apostle Paul who he himself will lose his life for the Gospel. He is writing to the church at Rome who will experience some of the greatest persecution history has even known.
I, and I imagine many reading this, have read those precious words of Romans 8 while having a battle between our mind and hearts. By faith, I have read those words of promise and believed them in obedience and by an act of my will. However, my heart has often failed my belief as I have sat with medical reports, parenting challenges, tears of heartbreak, and times of marriage disillusionment.
I have hung the words “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” on my wall and have memorized them in my heart to hold on to when everything inside me is searching for the experience of that promise.
Maybe you are not too unlike me.
So much of the time I do not feel like a victor or that I am overwhelmingly conquering the challenges of this earthly life. As I read and reread this passage, God in His amazing grace and by His Spirit opened my eyes to what I often miss. As I read, there is nothing in those verses that says I will not go through life’s deepest difficulties or even lose my life for the Gospel. There is nothing written that says because I am a Christ follower that I am spared of life’s tragedies. In fact, the end of Romans 8 practically ensures those trials will come.
But nothing, nothing at all will ever be able separate us from His love.
His love reaches us in the deepest pain in our darkest hours. He is there with us. In those moments, God strips away all falsities or ways we pretend and meets us with Love. No matter how much the dark wants to hide Him from us, He breaks through with love. Only love.
Love makes us the victors. Love makes us the conquerors.
It’s the love of Christ that is the greatest power in this world. Love brings another to cry with me during my miscarriage. Love then puts my arms around another woman who is going through the same grief. Love reminds me that He has forgiven me beyond what I will ever repay. Love shares that forgiveness in marriage when I didn’t think I could try another time. Love ripples across a nation who buys food and water and drives hundreds of miles to be present with those who have lost everything to flooding waters. Love is the courage hundreds of tortured and persecuted Christians demonstrate back to a mocking world as they refuse to deny our Risen Savior. Love is the bridge parents extend back to their rebellious teenager who wants nothing to do with them.
Do we see? It’s His love that conquers brokenness, division, and heartbreak. We are called to be victorious; empowered not by weapons, opinions, arguments, or anger but by love. And the world watches and scratches their heads in wonder.
When disappointments and pain want to shatter us, break us, defeat us, the floodwater of Christ’s love tells us that nothing can separate you from His Love, so be a people of love.
To allow ourselves to be completely loved takes courage and guts and bravery. To give love back takes the same. Jesus knows this well. Love brought Him to us. Love continued to extend itself when He was rejected, betrayed, and breathed His last breath. Jesus knows what it is to be loved by the Father in the darkest nights. And because of that Love could He ever remain on the cross and utter words of forgiveness.
There was nothing in our lives that could separate us from His love; so much so He came. As a baby to undo what we could never do on our own. With full knowledge of what was ahead of Him, He came. During this Christmas Season give yourself the gift that brings the greatest joy to the heart of the Father; living victoriously in what can never be taken from us - the never-failing love of Christ.
Mary Quillin is a city-girl-turned-country-girl in her new life in North Dakota. She has been married to her hubby for 16 years and has 3 wonderfully, different kids who have begun their teen years (and she would appreciate all the prayers as possible on that note). After many years in full time ministry, Mary is learning how to show up and daily discover the journey of being available for whatever Jesus leads her to. She spends her days trying to build a welcoming shabby chic home in the heartland of North Dakota while learning to write and run.