And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? 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 with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died– more than that, who was raised– who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, 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 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.”
Heavenly Father, speak to us and comfort us with Your Word and Your Spirit!
This is where everything important happens. Right here. In God’s presence. Where our true home is. This is where we as children or our Heavenly Father come together for all the most important events in our lives.
For our God is the author of our life. He is the author of our new life in Christ. Here we come to be baptized into His family. Here He Himself makes us His children. Here we come to be married before Him and receive His blessings.
In this very church Derek and Roxanne were married before God. And here we come when death has taken away our loved ones. Where else can we go, but to you O Lord! To you… Even if sometimes we don’t understand your ways.
We come in this world full of energy and full of hopes. We grow and learn, we want to explore this world. We run and play and we rejoice and we believe that life is going to be great and generous to us. It doesn’t always happen that way.
Roxanne’s family remember her as full of energy, active and sometimes even unstoppable, or at least uncatchable, as we heard. However, things happen in this life that don’t make much sense. Things that hurt us, brake us, that change our lives forever.
The words of Paul the apostle not only help us to reflect on our lives, but also bring us great encouragement. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
What do these words mean? Do they mean that if only you have faith in Jesus, everything will be good in your life? No, not at all. We all know that it is not true. And it wasn’t true also in Roxanne’s life.
Many wonderful things have happened. We heard of them just a few minutes ago. Family. Friendships. Marriage. Children. Work. Hobbies. Travels. But good things are always mixed with things not so good, – loss, pain, sufferings, injustice, sicknesses. This is what our lives are like in this age.
But, what then these words of Paul the apostle mean? Why would they be an encouragement to us? They actually mean something even more, something much deeper than simply protection from all troubles. They reveal us a beautiful reality which is often hidden from our eyes.
What Paul is saying is that the Triune God is always with those who love Him, with those whom He Himself has chosen and has called. Regardless of what is happening with us or around us in this world.
He dwells with His people, He holds us in the middle of this life’s turmoil. It’s also true, that we don’t always pay much attention to our God. When everything is fine, and we can seemingly get along quite okay on our own, we tend to forget about Him, neglect Him, even reject Him.
But think about this, and many of you would know this from your own first-hand experience. When do we experience God’s presence the most? The answer is, when we are ready and open to hear from Him.
When we are ready to accept what He desires to give us. When we are tuned in to listen to Him. When we desire to receive His peace. He is not far from us. He is always right next to us. It is our busyness that sometimes makes us deaf.
As you know Roxanne had her share of hardship. Sometimes it seemed too much to endure. But when we have moments like those, this is where Jesus holds us. Gently. Patiently. Faithfully.
But Paul the apostle doesn’t stop just reflecting on our hardships. He helps us to see the beauty of God’s promises. “What then shall we say to these [unpleasant, hard] things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Yes, this world is broken. Yes, we face things which we don’t want to face. Some of them seem stronger than we can endure. But having experienced more injustice and hardship than any of us, Paul the apostle exclaims: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” And Paul’s answer is: “Nothing will separate us from Christ’s love!”
This is something that we all need to be reminded of. And especially in moments like this, where we face death, separation, grief. “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.”
This is what we need to be reminded of today. We may forget about our God. It happens But He never forgets about us. We may feel lost and confused. But He never abandons us. We may doubt Him. Sure. But there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God is Christ Jesus.
May the peace of God that surpasses our understanding keep your hearts and minds safe in Jesus Christ. Amen.