Life has a way of disappointing us when things don't happen the way we would have chosen. The way we respond tells a lot about whether or not we recognize that God loves us even in the midst of the pain life can bring.
Our grandson Jonathan was having a bad day a few years ago. Things didn't go his way. He immediately embraced an attitude that communicated that he didn't like this one bit. He had been taking piano lessons, so he stomped back to the room where the old upright piano was and sat down and pounded out in anger the tune to "Oh, How I Love Jesus". I have to smile as I think of how we as adults respond so often to the unannounced and unpleasant circumstances that life can sometimes bring our way.
God doesn't always let us in on what He is doing in our lives, and, admittedly, life can throw some curve balls at us that knock us off our feet. This can cause us to sometimes believe that God no longer loves us. But I encourage you, never make the mistake of thinking that God has stopped loving you just because you are going through the pain of the moment.
There is a verse in Deuteronomy that has intrigued me. Deuteronomy 29:29 says "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." Even though the context is to Israel, those of us in the New Covenant should learn to stand on those things that God has revealed to us and pass them on to our children and not be distracted by those things that God chooses to keep to Himself.
We need to be encouraged because God's Word in Romans 8 tells us that, as believers, nothing shall ever separate us from the love of Christ. In fact, God lovingly orchestrates life to work for us to accomplish His purposes in our lives. This is what Paul has been saying all through Romans 8. Romans 8:30 clearly shows that we are secure in His love all the way through. "And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." We have not experienced this glorification yet, but God sees it as done! We are eternally bound to Him.
Being a believer does not spare us from tough times, and it is in the midst of these tough times that He promises not to forsake us, as Paul says: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:35-37).
Paul here goes on to tell us that God's love is guaranteed in the midst of tough times: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).
Paul leaves nothing out as he sums up what he has been saying in this passage. No one and nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ. "Neither death nor life"-He loves us on both sides of the grave. "Nor angels, nor principalities"-neither helpful nor hostile angels can separate us from His love. "Nor things present, nor things to come"-we don't fear the present and anything it brings, nor do we fear what the future holds, because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. "Nor powers"-no force of any kind can separate us from His love. "Nor height, nor depth"-there is no space that can separate us. "Nor any other created thing"-don't miss this; even we ourselves cannot even remove ourselves from His love! We are not spared from tough times, but neither are we forsaken in tough times; in fact, we are guaranteed god's love.
So if you ever feel far away from God and His love, you must ask yourself, who moved? Look up, brother-nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.
Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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