Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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. (Romans 8:35-39)
Like many others I know, my heart has been heavy with grief instead. I’ve been grieving: The number of people who have died from COVID and all the ways it has impacted our lives.
I’ve been grieving the death of George Floyd, for friends of mine who live in the neighborhood that burned down last week in Minneapolis, and all the resulting violence, destruction, and acts that, quite frankly, distract from the change that is needed in our world.
And I’ve been grieving where we are as a nation, for how divided we have become, and for the politicians who have been inclined to make excuses for George Floyd’s unnecessary death, to rationalize the systems that continue to keep some people on top and others on the bottom, and to deflect from the problems that exist.
Yet it is precisely because of all that has been happening and all the brokenness in our world that I have had to cling to the promise that we hear in the book of Romans.
The promise that we are more than conquerors. That Christ has won the victory. And that there is nothing that can separate us– or any of God’s children, for that matter– from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When the world appears as though it is out of control, these aren’t the easiest things to remember. And yes, like I said in the connect time, there are altogether too many examples that prove the world is not the way God intended it to be and that the Kingdom of God is not yet fully realized. But it is so important that we do.
Because if we aren’t intentional about remembering that death and violence and destruction will not win, and that cruelty, hatred, and fear will not prevail, we might be tempted to throw in the towel and think what’s the use? Or we might surrender to the grief and the pain and the hurt and think that all is lost.
But the thing is, we, and our community, our nation, and our world need to hear the good news, now more than ever, that all is not lost. That “a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”They need us to continue to choose to believe that there is good in the world, and to take a stand against injustice and oppression and work for lasting change.
Because it is only when we do that we will be able to truly experience the fullness of life and victory that God desires for us. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
That’s why, in the midst of all the pain and hurt and grief lately, I am so grateful for the reminders that have come my way this week that the world is not out of control; that God’s goodness will overcome; and that, as it says in the book of Isaiah, “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
Getting to this point certainly doesn’t come quickly. It requires us to get our hands dirty. It will likely even require us to give up things and systems and opinions we hold dear.
Yet when we do, I am convinced that is when we will be able to experience the transformation and victory that is ours in Christ most fully. And when we will experience and see the kingdom of God in our midst.