35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is one of the most amazing chapters in all of Romans. I can’t begin to summarize all the truths that are found here; you’ll have to read it for yourself. Paul talks about the differences between one who lives according to the flesh (as in, do whatever you like) and living in accordance with the Spirit (as in, doing what God would want). It’s death according to the flesh, but life and peace through the Spirit. If God’s Spirit has found a home in you, even though our bodies will eventually wear out, we find life.
We endeavor the best we can, as Paul puts it, to put to death the misdeeds of the body, in order to take hold of the life God offers in the Spirit. God calls us his children, for we have been adopted through Jesus Christ. That’s why we can pray, calling God our Father or Dad, Abba in Aramaic.
Then Paul says something uncomfortable for modern-day Christians – that we are heirs with Christ if we share in his sufferings in order to share in his glory. Creation suffers through frustration, as he puts it, by its bondage to decay, waiting to be brought into the freedom and glory of God’s children. We too groan, waiting for our adoption as God’s children. We wait for the time when our bodies will be redeemed from their present difficulties. This is our hope, because we believe in all things God works for our good.
Suffering cannot separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ when we believe God’s plan is good. Nothing can separate us from this hope we carry within us, because God’s love is stronger than any of these troubles. It has taken me a long time, but I believe this is true. It is the rock upon which all else rests – I know God’s love is good, for God sent Jesus Christ. God’s love enables me to hope all things, bear all things and believe all things – it is the greatest of things. God’s love.
Lord, give me grace today to bear whatever load I am to shoulder, because I will trust that you are there beside me. Your love has made me whole, and your love will carry me when my load is too great. This I believe. Thank you. Amen.