In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 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. 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. (Romans 8:26-39, NASB)
Did you have a childhood friend with whom you were "thick as thieves", the kind where when you looked for one of you, you were bound to find the other? So many of us did. The successes and failures were shared experiences that almost always strengthened that bond and forged the friendship - at least through the pre-adolescent years. Over time, and with perhaps the distance that often comes from moving away, that bond changed and finally faded away. But the childhood memories continue - you couldn't imagine life at that age without him or her by your side. And just maybe, you think back on this relationship and wish it could happen again.
Well, friends, your Divine Brother has promised such a relationship - and a much richer one at that. He has promised to be such a part of you that He can even understand what you are saying when you don't have the words to say it. He is constantly holding you up to the Father, describing you in the most loving and intimate of terms. And unlike what some will say, He is definitely not accusing you! His love for you doesn't just "overlook" your faults and flaws; it doesn't ignore them. Rather, He counts it all as in the past and forgotten.
That's a great message for so many of us who are struggling day to day - so why do we miss it so often? Is it because we somehow don't really believe that He is that intimately interested in us? Do we think that somehow we've embarrassed or offended Him to the degree where He won't speak to us anymore? Do we feel like He has abandoned us, left us alone to wallow in our own muck and mire? I'm guessing it is all of these thoughts and many more like them. But it couldn't be farther from the truth.
Paul is speaking very plainly here, and we would do well to listen. He is declaring with great emphasis and power that we are "inseparable" from God and His love. Nothing here on Earth, nothing in the Universe around us, nothing we do, and nothing anyone else does can drive a wedge between us. Sure, the relationship gets damaged from time to time, but that's all a part of the fallen nature. When we feel like we are drifting (and it is we who do the drifting), we can rest in the assurance that God hasn't lost track of us and he hasn't lost interest in us. And, drawing from that strength, we can move back into the fellowship that seeks to drain every ounce of Joy from our relationship with our Father.
As I travel my Crooked Path, the ups, downs, twists, and turns will bring me through many circumstances that will both try me and uplift me. In the midst of all of this, I need to trust that God is never separated from me. Our relationship is secure at the core and can only increase in intensity ... all the way until I see Him in person. No separation on Earth, and the promise of union forever ... inseparable!
- Do you feel separated right now - as if God is off at a distance and waiting for you to do something to restore the relationship?
- Are you struggling with your past (or even your present) based on what somebody else has told you God expects? Do you find it hard to feel like the "conqueror" Paul says you are in Christ?
- Can you begin to grasp the truth that God is in "hot pursuit" of you and won't break it off? Does it make you a bit uncomfortable that He is so lavish with His love? If you could shake that feeling and rest in His care, how would your outlook on living change?