When Darkness Falls; When Doubts Assail.
When life happens in all the wrong ways:
When I was going through a dark time, one of many in recent days, a wise woman in my church texted me this:
“These verses I would like to share with you. Romans 8 v 35, v38 and 39. Hope the promptings were correct.” They were.
35: Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
38: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39: 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. (NASB)
Romans is a book I have felt guilty about. I know it is core Christian theology, but it’s also a book I had only previously tackled in sound bites. However these verses were so encouraging to me that ever since then I have been digging much deeper into studies of this wonderful text.
I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned from the verses my wise friend sent to me.
Living in The Fallen World.
It can be hard to remember that no matter what the situation God is always working behind the scenes; the director, the producer and the stage manager. We are living in a fallen world and often forget how bad we are at managing ourselves.
It is easy to look at disasters and forget that disasters strike everyone precisely because we are living in a fallen world. And Paul could not be clearer about the disasters faced by many living in those times, early Christians in particular; tribulation, persecution, famine and sword. No one was better fitted to assure us about the love of Christ than Paul.
I for one find it easy to retreat to a place of self pity. It becomes easier to lose myself in a novel than take refuge in the word of God. I for one need to be reminded that God is always at work; God remains faithful. I am the one who becomes too distracted to notice.
And yet nothing in the external, fallen world can separate us from the love of God, as it is in Christ our Lord.
The Beginning and The End of The Journey.
Coming to faith in Christ Jesus is the beginning of the journey, even as it is also the ultimate destination. In the last chapter of revelation Jesus says:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Rev. 22:13.
On this journey God will use adversity, not to test us cruelly, but to give us so many opportunities to increase our faith and rest in Him alone.
“He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest. The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.” Psalm 62: 6,7 (NASB)
Without God’s word in my life today I would be struggling to find the meaning to so many things, things within my personal experiences and things in the world at large. But I have come to understand that God works in my life always, and not in spite of adversity, not in spite of tribulation, but through the train wrecks, the collisions and the all round general disasters.
As long as I live in this fallen world I cannot control the forces that may come out against me. All of creation groans under that assault of powers and principalities, forces and dark energies, both natural and supernatural.
God’s Eternal Plan.
But God does have a plan. The Supreme Creator has a plan for each one of us. You can’t create worlds and universes without a really good set of blueprints.
“Even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” Ephesians 1:4
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
If I am indeed His workmanship, created in Christ and chosen by the Supreme Creator before the foundations of the world, then it is before Him I stand and bare my soul. His justification, His judgement, His value of me; if I can stand before that and know that I am loved then I can withstand the condemnations of the world, because I have Christ who intercedes on my behalf.