I picked the NLT version of this text for a few reasons, one of which is verse 35 (“Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?”). So many times, we get concerned with the ‘hows’ of life that we forget who loves us, and has brought us this far. How am I going to pay these bills? How am I going to get through school? How am I going to get another job? How am I going to make it through this week? If we’re not careful, we’ll get so bogged down with the ‘hows’ that we don’t look up to the hills, and we’ll be deceived into thinking that we have to bear these ridiculously heavy burdens on our own. So if you’ve been wondering ‘how’, I want to switch it up a bit & ask you ‘who’? Who are you depending on to bring you through? Who are you really placing your trust in to make a way? Who allowed you to suffer that loss? Who do you think will restore? Your hope isn’t always in the ‘how’ or the ‘why’; it’s in your ‘who’.
Trouble is not the antithesis of God’s love. God can love you if you’re in trouble. God did love you when you were in trouble. In one way or another, we were all in trouble when God saved us. We didn’t get saved from trouble; we got saved from destruction. However, as it says in verse 37, despite all of the trouble, and all of the hell, and all of the persecution, and weariness that you may be experiencing….you’re still victorious. Oh wait! You don’t just have the victory, you have overwhelming victory. So with His love, you don’t survive the struggle, you thrive despite the struggle. God’s love for you is so strong that your strongest storm couldn’t shake it. Your biggest weakness can’t overshadow it. Your heaviest burden can’t break it. He loves you through the pain. He loves you through the uncertainty. He loves you beyond the victimization…into an overwhelming victory.
I’m confident about all of this because I’m convinced that nothing…no…thing…can separate us from the love of Christ. When they nailed Him to the cross, they nailed Him to us. They nailed Him to who we used to be, who we are, and who we can ever hope to be. So when He rose, He rose with the power to push through your mess and bring you into your purpose. He rose with enough love to pull through your fear and your uncertainty to an overwhelming victory. Nothing. Nothing that life throws at you, no angel, no demon, no power, no curse, no shortage, no emptiness, no wound, no weapon….can separate you from the love of Christ. Nothing above you or beneath you can separate you from His love. Nothing you’ve done or will do can separate you from His love. None of your fears for today or your worries about tomorrow can separate you from His love. NOTHING! NO..THING. If it’s been created, it can’t separate you from the love of the Creator.
This is all relevant because when I’ve found that when I couldn’t hold on to anything, or anybody else, I could hold on to His love. There have been moments when I’ve been honest with God, and told Him that I didn’t think I could hold on to His promise. It took too long, seemed to big, sounded like something I made up, etc. He responded, and asked me to hold on to His love. Can you trust that God loves you enough to not let you fall? Think about the people you love. Wouldn’t you do everything that you could to ensure that they had everything that they wanted & needed? You’d give all that you could to make sure that they were happy & prosperous, right? Well if you feel like that, and you’re created in the image of God, why don’t you think that God feels that way about you? If you’d give all that you could to make sure that the people you love are completely covered, don’t you think that God will give all that He can to make sure that you’re covered? Don’t you think He’s got a lot more than you do? If you believe that His love is that strong, why don’t you trust it? (like for real for real) Nothing can separate you from it. He loves you too much to let you fail, suga. So when you aren’t sure that you can trust His promise, trust His love. Don’t ever let doubt of the promise turn into doubt of His love. Even if He doesn’t do it the way you want Him to, He still loves you. Nothing can separate His love from your life, so nothing can separate His favor or His victory from your life.
If nothing can separate His love from us, then it must be matter of not just ‘what’s close to us’ but what we cling to; so many times, people just want to be close to God, but you can be close to something & not recognize it’s there. You can be close to something & not be connected to it. Close is a spatial term; in order to block out the world, our fears, our fantasies of what could happen, etc., we need to CLING to the cross in worship. That’s how you survive the wait, that’s how you get the strength you need; that’s how you do it. Sometimes, being close to God is not enough, we need to cling in that secret place (Ps. 91) & be covered from calamity. Don’t cling to your fear more than you cling to His cross. Don’t cling to your own understanding & plans more than you cling to His cross. What are you clinging to? It may be the very thing that causes you to fail and/or fear. Cling to the cross. Cling to the King. Trust His love, and know that regardless of what happens, His love will carry you into your destiny. He may not take the path you prefer, but He’ll take the path that’ll contribute to your final perfection.
Background Music: Medley (Live) - Vashawn Mitchell; Your Love - William Murphy
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