for us all

Read Romans 8:31-39.

In one of the most inspiring passages in all that is now called “Scripture,” the apostle Paul soars to new heights in describing the lengths to which God’s love in Christ Jesus goes. But what makes this passage truly inspiring is that the man who wrote it was a living embodiment of his experience of it.

When Paul said no outward trouble – not even hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword – could separate God from his love for us, he writes as one who had faced all of those very things numerous times. They were as they are for me –  hypothetical situations. No, Paul had seen the worst come his way because of his faith in God, yet none of that diminished his perception or reception of God’s love.

When Paul said no charge or condemnation could be successfully leveled against him that would remove God’s love from his view, he was a man with a past so heavy, well, suffice it to say people have committed suicide over far lesser things. Yet Paul grasped that God’s own son, Jesus Christ, died for him, was raised for him and was yet even at that moment at God’s right hand interceding for him.

But this is not something that was limited to Paul’s experience. Paul says this is available to “all.” Nearly a dozen times in he uses the words “us” and “we,” and not in an editorial fashion. This abiding assurance that God is on my side, rooting for me, not against me, toying with me as a cat would with a mouse, can be mine. This clear confidence in Christ even the face of crisis or disaster, Paul says can be yours and mine because Christ is greater than anything and all. This firm faith of Paul’s that the Deity’s love is far greater than all the damage all the demons of hell can bring is something that I can share in with him.

So what shall I say in response to all of these things?

Holy, heavenly Father – I am yours. I accept your love and embrace you. Lead me not into times of temptation;  I do pray, “Deliver me from evil.” But when great evil does come my way, from without or from within, may my eyes not only remain locked on your great love and fixed on your Son, but may my lips be attuned to give you praise. Amen. Amen.

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