The picture seemed all askew. Why would the artist paint a scene so difficult to understand? No matter how much I looked at the scene, I couldn’t figure it out.
I took a step back, rubbed my eyes, opened them, and tilted my head. And there it was. I had been standing too close and trying too hard when the subject of the picture was right there all along.
Sometimes, life seems the same way. I can’t quite see what’s going on. Let’s face it, life isn’t easy. Difficult things happen to everyone. Too often, I can look for reasons in an attempt to make sense of the trial.
Because somehow, I think the circumstance will be easier if I understood the why.
I have tried to wrangle reason from the many difficult situations I’ve faced. Sometimes I’m too close to it to understand. I might be able to coerce a viable purpose. But usually, God simply tells me to trust Him in the moment.
He draws me to His Word and whispers to my heart.
One verse He uses repeatedly is Romans 8:37. When he wrote these words, Paul began the sentence with “No” because he had just questioned whether anything could separate God and a person who loved Him. Paul’s answer is emphatic. He goes on to list more situations where that person can’t be separated from God.
Most of the time, I like to focus on “we are more than conquerors” because I like to think of myself as that kind of person. Bring on the battle. Victors. Defeaters. Heroes. Vanquishers.
Those are strong, powerful words.
But in truth, it’s not about me being a conqueror, although Paul says I am.
There is so much more. Before verse 37, Paul wrote about the Holy Spirit helping us, God working everything for our good, and being conformed to the image of Jesus.
This whole chapter is really about all of the resources God provides during the hardest times of life. And the readers of this chapter had gone through many difficult situations. Paul wants to give them hope with a large amount of theology.
But there’s more.
The deepest part of the verse is at the end. “Through Him who loved us.”
We will all face dark days and hard trials. It’s one of the surest guarantees of life. And God knew that. So, He had Paul write, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (v. 35) and “ For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (v. 38-39)
-because of the One who loves us, we can rise above the tough stuff
-because of Him, we can conquer the situations that threaten to bog us down
-because of God’s deep love, we don’t have to face anything alone.
Personally, when I step back, I can see the bigger picture. Life is difficult. Challenges come. But God’s love is the background and foundation to carry me through all of it.
What are you seeing or not seeing correctly today? Spend some time in Romans 8 and let God whisper truth to your heart about how much He loves you personally.
Photo credit: My own