There is a Bible passage that has been following me around for a few weeks now but I’ve been ignoring it. I’m very good at ignoring Bible passages particularly if I don’t want to listen to them. That’s the funny thing about this passage, it’s not one that I need to particularly run away from. It’s encouraging, it’s uplifting…so why has it been following me around? So this morning as I made an escape from my house (for a number of reasons) and made my way to Starbucks, I decided to write a blog post and see where it takes me; more importantly, where God takes me.
The Bible passage in question is this: Romans 8: 28-39. This is how the NIV translation puts it but feel free to read it in your own translation.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will be not also, along with him, graciously give us all things. Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble of hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger of sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, 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.”
It is quite a powerful passage. And I don’t know why I continue to run away from it. I mean, I’ll read it and say “yeah, that’s cool” but then I’ll walk away from it and not really pay attention.
I can’t remember exactly when this passage first came up but the time I remember the most is during my Easter break just gone. I wasn’t on talking terms with God and I was struggling in every sense of the word. And there was one evening in particular that I was struggling and all of a sudden my phone started to explode with people texting me…it’s like they knew I was having a bad day and wanted too/or had burst into tears.
One friend in particular was particularly troubled that I wasn’t on talking terms with God. I still don’t know what was blocking the connection and she told me to read Romans 8, so I did. To quote what she text me: “there’s nothing that needs to block you from him, you don’t have to be missing him because I am confident there is NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. And she was right, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.
I just had a thought as to when this passage first came up. It was back in February (I just had to consult my phone and look at the text I was sent) and it came with no context. My friend text me two verses: Ephesians 2:13 and Romans 8:38-39. It was a Monday night and if I remember rightly, I was in a particularly bad patch. It was just after my baptism, my sisters had left Aberystwyth and I felt very alone. Anyway, I read those passages and I knew that I needed them. I wrote an entire blog using Ephesians 2, you should go check it out.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, 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.
There is nothing to keep us from the love of God. Nothing at all. Sometimes we feel that our sins are too great, our relationship with Him is rubbish…but that’s a load of rubbish. And I think that’s what I need to remember, I need to focus on God’s never ending love. It’s eternal. His grace lasts a lifetime. His mercy is far too great. And He sent His one and only Son, He sent a part of Himself to die on a cross for us…and that’s insane.
God loves us for who we are. None of us are exactly the cleanest of the bunch, we’ve all done stuff and will continue to do stuff that upsets Him. But He still loves us. He is our heavenly father. He’s forgiven us, He’s saved us…there is nothing left for us to do to gain His love. We just have to love Him. And that’s generally quite an easy thing to do…okay, maybe not all the time.
I can look around me and I see the beauty that God created. And I love Him. I look around me and I see the friends He has put in my life, and I love Him. I look around me and I see depressive spells and anxiety attacks and I struggle to love Him. But I know that He loves me and nothing should stand in the way. I can go to church and not experience God for months, I can stand there and sing the songs but my heart isn’t in it. I can stand there and say the prayers but I don’t feel like God is listening. But He is.
He loves us, He wants to speak to us and He wants to have a relationship with us. There is nothing stopping us. Just throw out a little prayer here and there, nothing elaborate but just a little something. He’s listening.