“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship 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.” (from Romans 8:35-37 NIV)
It is hard to escape the fact that this world is full of problems. Life is not easy. In every day, there are certain challenges, struggles, heartaches and difficulties. This is even more the case if you choose to follow after Jesus.
But we should not be surprised. Jesus told us it would be this way. He didn’t try to paint a rosy picture of life – or to delude us with a false hope. He told us plainly: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
Though we need it – sometimes the truth is not so easy to accept.
This fact really cuts against the grain of how we think things ought to be. Somehow, we think our Christian lives should be free from life’s problems and hurts. But that is just not real. Jesus chose to tell us exactly like it is – but He didn’t just leave it at that. He gave us all a real hope!
He surrounded His warning about life’s struggles with these words: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me… Take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
That brings us to our verse for the day. Such powerful and hopeful words! The apostle Paul was inspired to inspire us with the fact that no trouble or hardship in this life has the ability to separate us from Jesus’ love for us. But it goes deeper still… In spite of all the trouble that this world might throuw at us, “we are more than conquerors” through Jesus, and His love for us.
What I find most interesting is not just the “conquerors” part, but the “more than” part.
Not only are we able to overcome everything that this life may throw at us (because of Jesus), but something far more valuable occurs in the process – something that is “more than” victory. What could possibly be greater than winning?
We notice that two things usually happen to people who are forced to face life’s dark shadows. They either turn to God… or turn away from Him. They either shake their fist at heaven… or lift their eyes to heaven. Trouble and hardship simply reveal what is actually in our hearts.
In the case of those who have personally experienced the love of Jesus, our troubles become a means to draw us deeper and closer into relationship with Him. We get to personally experience His care, His love, His compassion – more intimately, more deeply. Our relationship with Him is strengthened – and our love for Him grows.
If you ask anyone, who has walked through “the valley of the shadow,” and emerged triumphant on the other side, they will tell you: “There is something of infinite value to be gained in the process… and in the pain.”
That which is gained is a real, and personal, understanding of just how much God loves us. There is just something about experiencing His Presence, in the midst of our pain, that makes Him so much more real to us. God becomes more than just a Sunday school concept – He becomes the Living and Personal God whose love just cannot help but meet us in our time of need.
As human beings, we need more than just to believe in God – we need to experience Him as real in our lives. Tough times are God’s opportunity to provide this to us.
And that makes us more than conquerors…
Prayer focus: God, help me to draw near to you… in good times and bad.