Transformed in My Spiritual Health
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… 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, nor 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. Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NIV)
This challenging, comforting passage assures us of God’s profound love for us as his children. And it’s a promise for you if you ever wondered, “If God loves me, why do I suffer?”
This text is challenging because it describes our Christian ancestors being persecuted, suffering separation from families, friends, livelihoods, homes, possessions – even life itself. Yet Paul comforts them and us, assuring all that nothing can ever rip us from the loving embrace of God!
The passage is also challenging because those suffering are identified as God’s children: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God… And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’ … we are children … heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ … We share in [Christ’s] sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17 NIV). God’s loving, intimate relationship to his children is not diminished, but actually strengthened in suffering.
Suffering doesn’t mean we are unloved by God, or that we have displeased or disappointed him. Remember, Jesus encourages those he loves, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).
When we see that suffering is part of the human journey wuth our heavenly Father, we ask, “Can you imagine going through suffering without him?” And we believe his amazing promise, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
(Transformed: How God Changes Us by Rick Warren)