“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”
My earliest memory as a child at Sunday school is being taught this lovely, simple little song. Simple and yet profound. Foundational, unshakeable, unchanging truth that I continue to need to be reminded of, especially when life gets tough.
There is a danger when walking through trials, or coping with ongoing difficult situations, that we use the lens of those circumstances to view God and question where He is or what He is doing.
Instead, we need to commit to choosing the perspective of the truth of what we know of our good, loving, faithful, promise-keeping God. We need to cling to His Word as our anchor so we can navigate the storms of life without our faith becoming shipwrecked or without them leaving us feeling utterly abandoned.
The practice of lamenting, of honestly expressing our deepest sorrows, longings, doubts, or fears to our heavenly Father, is both helpful and scriptural. It can also be a channel through which God, by His Spirit, shows us more of who He is; strengthening our faith, deepening our trust, and giving us treasures in the darkness that help us to endure.
Recently, at a sharing evening at church, a life-long friend bravely shared her story of how, in the past ten years she has had to deal with three different types of cancer, and all the treatments, surgeries, therapies, and side effects that came as part of this dreadful disease. She spoke of how someone has asked her if she learned anything new about God through all she had faced. She said that it was more like all she had known for years in her faith journey became real and true, specifically for her. The one thing she was most certain of, more than ever before, through it all, was how much God really loved her.
I was so moved! This was not what I expected to hear.
It can be our natural, human response that when sickness or trials come that we question God and His goodness. We doubt His love because we don’t feel it and we cannot understand why our present circumstances are so incredibly hard to bear. Yet my dear friend is a showcase of God’s glory, trusting Him through all she has been through, clinging to the hope she has in Christ and knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing is ever going to separate her from God’s unchanging, unconditional, unfailing, undeserved love for her through Christ Jesus her Lord.
And so, as we have meditated on our passage in Romans 8 this week and as we focus today on our SOAP verses (38,39), let us declare along with the apostle Paul that we are certain, sure of, convinced that nothing is ever going to separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus.
It is the everlasting love of Jesus that we can always know and rely upon, both now and for eternity! But, how can we really know it? We look to the cross and we see the One who endured punishment and suffering beyond what we could never even imagine, and we remind ourselves that on the cross, Jesus was separated from His Father so that we will never, ever be.
Paul does not make light of the suffering or hardship, it is not a ‘grin and bear it’ type of message for us here. No, it’s with the word imagery of a battle that He assures us we have total, overwhelming victory through our conquering Savior.
When Paul assures us that he is convinced of victory in all these things, (not in spite of, or after they’re over) we know that his message is authentic because he experienced many different trials and hardships and the sustaining power of the One who brought him through. So then, God can use us to encourage others as we share our story of suffering and testify of how God is with us in it all.
The Apostle Paul details a fairly comprehensive list of all the things that will never stand between us and God’s love. He covers death, life, spiritual opposition, any powers, height nor depth, whatever is present or to come, and just in case there could be a situation not mentioned here that Paul has missed, he adds “nor anything else in all creation” (Romans 8:39). That covers it all! Nothing in this world can rob us of the redeeming, sustaining love of Christ. Truth must be the rock and sure foundation for our sisters and brothers to cling to, who, across our world are facing extreme persecution, imprisonment, even death for following Jesus.
Corrie Ten Boom (who experienced the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp) was an amazing example of a life of faith and trust. I always remember the encouragement of this truth she shared in the book The Hiding Place: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
My friend, what pit are you in right now? Do you need the tender reminder that Jesus loves you and that nothing will ever separate you from Him? Remember, the One who loves you is the One who gave Himself for you, and by His resurrection won the victory over sin and death and hell for you. Together, with Him and through Him, whatever you face, you have complete victory (Romans 8:37).
And so, beloved, how then shall we respond to this great truth of God’s unbreakable love that we have considered afresh together? Let’s pray that we will grow in and be strengthened by this love, joining with Paul by using his prayer for the Ephesians:
“I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he will grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ will dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you will be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you will be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16–19).
JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW.
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