Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

God’s Love in Suffering’s Reality

“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.” (Romans 8:35,37)

Paul is long winded, so for the full scope of what he is saying, we need to read chapters seven and eight of Romans in one sitting, or at least 8:26-39. The most crucial context to these verses appears to be, “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?”

This passage has a subtext or implication modern Christians in the first world, and America particularly, prefer to ignore or hope to never endure: that we will actually suffer with Christ as well as graciously  receive all things, that we will endure the suffering that cannot separate us from God’s love. We think we’re more special than all the saints before us and should be magically spared from the trial and tribulation that our culture’s corruption will inevitably bring upon us.

Our hope isn’t escape from and avoidance of pain–our hope is the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that we who suffer with him shall also be glorified with him. God with us though everything. He promised to be with us and love us, redeeming every sorrow so good comes from it, even should times fall that for God’s sake, “we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” as the omitted verse 26 says, persecution still suffered by many of our brothers and sisters throughout history and across our globe today. The promise is, though we suffer much here, we have our hope secure in Christ and his love so long as we hold on.

If you are at a point today where you feel you cannot hold on any longer and you are ready to curse God and die (spiritually speaking,)  remember verse 26 says the spirit helps us in our weakness. Cry out to him. Scream, moan, groan, or wail, intelligibly or unintelligibly, as inclined. Tell him the honest truth of how you are feeling, but then, once you at last reach the bottom of your grief, remember his promises and hold out your hands. He will meet you there.

Lord, keep our eyes and hearts fixed upon you today. Increase our faith and endurance, and grow in us the knowledge of your good and righteous will. Show us the path you would lay out before us and cleanse our hearts of evil so we would walk in it. Grant us confidence in your perfect work of redemption. Give us hearts tender to you today and increase our love for one another. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.