Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
This was the theme verse in my college youth ministry team, and it still holds power whenever I come across it in my reading. How amazing is it that God promises that whatever terrible things we face, He is stronger? It’s awesome.
This past time I read it, however, something else struck me. Maybe it’s the reports of unrest coming in from all over the globe. Maybe it’s the increased cases of children being taken by human trafficking. Maybe it’s the fires, floods, and earthquakes happening in so many more places than they seemed to when I was a child (though there may be some measure of my awareness as a child being less than what it is now).
But as I read these words again last week – tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? – I wonder how much of this I’ve faced. How much any of us who have the means and the time and the freedom to read a blog have faced. It is present in the world. For some Christians, danger, persecution, and threat of life are a daily reality.
For others of us, though, we live in safety. Dare I say it? Even COMPLACENCY or worse, APATHY. Comfort is a dangerous thing when we allow it to cloud our vision. When we forget our brothers and sister who are living what many of the early Christians faced, when we allow phone games or television shows or shopping or family commitments or activities or any number of things to cloud our vision, to create a barrier between us and our Savior.
I have learned to be very careful with how much time I allow myself to play games on my phone (I won’t name any of them, but those who play games also, you know which ones you struggle with!). Making matches or beating high scores or whatever the object is can be so distracting! Our kids with block-building games (ahem, I think most parents will know which game I’m talking about;-)) are having to learn to be careful with their time, too.
Tribulation, distress, and persecution will not separate us from Him, but when we turn our eyes from Him, we are in danger of wandering away, like sheep not listening to their shepherd’s voice.
But when we’re fighting, when we’re exercising our faith in the Word, when we’re active in prayer, when we’re connecting with the places God has promised in His Word to be found – His Word and Sacrament – then we are in no danger. As he promised the Christians years ago through His apostle Paul, He is faithful and will not forsake us. Cling to Him, to His cross, to His Word.