35 Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
We are being put to death all day long for your sake.
We are treated like sheep for slaughter.[a]
37 But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. 38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.
I don’t know about you, but it seems like so much is going on that it can feel overwhelming at times. We know that people are suffering, we see it on the news. Most people are going through things we’re not even aware of, even as we’re sitting next to them. Maybe it’s because we’re so consumed with our own problems, that we don’t stop to think that other people are suffering too.
You would think having suffered ourselves, we’d be more empathetic towards others, and often we are, but the suffering of others can also make people avoid those in need. Sometimes the problem seems so big, like global hunger, that we feel that any effort is in vain. We see suffering and we rationalize it and say, ‘Well, everything happens for a reason.”
Saying this may be a way to stay at arms length from suffering, or worse, it can put the blame on God, and cause the hearer more suffering. We are called by God to love each other, to provide help and to care for one another. Paul says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” God does not cause suffering or pick out people to make them suffer. God loves us and God is in the midst of our suffering. I have every reason to believe this, because God loves us and sent Jesus to teach us to love, both to love God and each other. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, forgave sins and
died for our salvation. Paul, in this letter to the Romans, tells us our suffering is not in vain, that “not nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life.”
To be human, with free will, in this world is to know suffering, but it also gives us agency to respond. When we respond to suffering, we bring hope. We are called to follow the example of Jesus and to help those who are suffering. God showed us that what we thought was the worst thing that could happen, was Jesus dying on the cross, turned out to be the best thing that could happen to us, our salvation. We have “a sweeping victory” over suffering and death, “through the one who loved us,” Jesus Christ.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
No matter what you are going through, know that God loves you and that God is with you, because nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus. Today, who can you show God’s love to in the midst of their suffering?
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, you are always with us, and nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus. Help us to show your love to those around us who are suffering today. Amen.