God will give us the strength to endure and cope with the vicissitudes of life
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
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 8:31-39
As we stand at the threshold of another year, we cannot predict the outcome of 2017. There will be times when we will feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. There will be times when we will not see a light at the end of the tunnel. There will be hurtful times when we will think that we are going down a bottomless pit and there is no hope.
It is particularly during these times that we cling to and take comfort in the apostle’s message in the text.
“We can be confident that God has no worthy opponent. We can be confident that Christ’s sacrifice has earned us an irreversible verdict of innocence. We can be confident that no one and nothing has the ability to cause God to stop loving us.”
Because we have Christ on our side, we have all. Therefore, we sojourn in this life with the assurance that we do not stand-alone. God is with us.
The text asks the question, “Who can be against us?” There is no need to fear our enemies or life itself. As Christians, God may not always prevent us from experiencing the setbacks of life, but he will give us the strength and ability to stand up to them.
We live to God not man. Therefore, we do not need to fear what humankind may think, say or bring against us. Yes the agents of the devil will come against us with a vengeance. They may ridicule us and make us feel defeated. However, with our eyes focused on the cross of Jesus Christ, we do not have any reason to fear or doubt God.
Some may tell you that when you are a Christian, you will not experience setbacks in life. No. We will get sick; we will lose our jobs; we will have family problems; we will experience the death of our loved ones. Life will beat us up.
The apostle’s message here is comforting. He is telling us that God in Christ will be there at our side and give us the strength to endure and cope with the vicissitudes of life.
Nothing in life can intervene between God and his care for us. This world’s problems may cause us pain and sometimes cause us to question our faith and ultimately question whether God is with us. The apostle gives the reassurance that nothing can stand between God and us.
During the coming year, be assured that we who are in Christ Jesus have an unchangeable promise from God. He is our God. He will remain faithful to us. Not even the angels in heaven can cause the love of God in Christ to be taken away from us.
There are no powers, or force which can intervene. We have Christ Jesus who puts his arms around us. He gave his life for us and he promised to be with us even to the very end of the age. He will go with us in this New Year. Paul assures us “If God is for us, who can be against? Amen. Happy New Year!
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; E-mail: email@example.com.
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