For several months now I’ve had a dodgy shoulder. Where once I could reach things of high shelves or twist my arm up my back, those things are now out of reach. It is frustrated when something feels out of our grasp, that we are separated form what we feel we should be able to reach and grasp.
It is a dark place to feel that you can no longer reach out and touch God.
31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?
(The lectionary misses out v36)
37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
I’ll let you into a secret. I have a love hate relationship with this passage.
When I was in a dark and unstable place it was the last thing I wanted to hear. It is often used in such a glib way, in a “everything’s alright with God on your side” way – which is clearly not the case. I know I go on about it, but being a Christian does not make your life immune from trials and tribulations – but it does give you a companion who understands in them.
When in a less wobbly place, I love these word for the surety and foundation that they are.
Because actually nothing can separate us from God. However we are feeling, God is still hanging on to us. If we can’t reach him, he can reach us. In trouble, suffering, and hard times, need, danger and death God is there and there is nothing that can stop that. No barrier, no chasm, no expanse, not our inability to reach.
God loves us, and NOTHING can stop that from happening.
God is hanging on – to you and to me.
Thank you God,
that however I am feeling,
whatever is happening in my life,
you love me,
and you are hanging on to me.
There is nothing I can do,
nothing that can happen to me
that stops you loving me.
When I feel I can’t reach you,
help me to remember
that you reach me.