“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life…the present nor the future…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37-39).
Have you ever noticed how sometimes words of comfort come across empty? I only have to consider my own responses to those who had experienced losing a loved one. Before I lost my sister and dad my responses were more rehearsed than felt. It wasn’t that I was cold hearted but rather heart protected. I had never experienced that sadness before so I couldn’t really understand the depth of pain in which they were living. Once I had experienced that suffering I truly understood the journey of hope… desperate prayer…decline…and ultimately death. On the flipside however I experienced the healing of that journey. Through the love of Christ I was able to accept…seek comfort…pray for our emotional healing…and receive the sustaining grace and love of God.
Paul penned this passage with authority and credibility, for the things he named were the things he had endured through God’s grace in Christ. Paul’s words do not fall on deft ears for they were written from a man who walked this journey and overcame all of these sufferings.
The love of Christ involves His protection when we are vulnerable and weak from our circumstances. The love of Christ offers His comfort and peace when we are fearful and anxious in our situation. The love of Christ bestows those special blessings on the days we need something extra. His love reveals His heart when we cannot trace His hand in our suffering. When we glance in our rearview mirror we can see how victoriously we were led out of other painful times. In retrospect, we see how the love of Christ was there at every turn never leaving us, but always loving us. When we can look at our past as overcomers our lives will pen our story through our testimonies. In the spirit of Paul’s writings, I write my own as a testimony to God:
‘What shall separate me from Christ’s love? Shall divorce, my child’s heroin addiction, secret spending, cancer, death and grief…No, in all these things I am more than a conqueror through him who loves me. For I am convinced that nothing yesterday, today or tomorrow will be able to pry me from God’s hand since I am a co-heir with Christ.’