Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 3.12.21

By March 12, 2021Daily Bread

I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

Romans 8:35-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

What are the greatest difficulties we can face?  What seems to have the potential of separating us from the love of God?  The apostle Paul asks, “If God is for us, who is against us?”

In today’s passage of scripture from Romans 8, the apostle Paul has a list:  hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, life, angels, rulers, things present, things to come, powers, height, and depth.  Paul is thinking of some the greatest dangers, difficulties and challenges of his own day and in his own experience.  I suppose you could sum it up with the first two he lists in verse 38:  death and life.

Life cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ.  This might seem like a strange thing to say, until we begin to think about all that can happen in a life.  Paul refers to “the sufferings of this present time.”  I certainly don’t need to tell you that there are “sufferings in this present time.”

The demands, challenges, difficulties and tragedies of life can seem so threatening that they could separate us from the love of God.  Or, we could put it this way:  the demands, challenges, difficulties and tragedies of life can seem so threatening that we question whether God is present in all this.

And then there is death and the fear of it.  Of all creatures, we are the only ones—as far as we know—who are conscious of our own mortality.  No other creature knows the ultimate statistic:  one out of one dies.  We know we are alive and we know we will die.  We are the only creatures who number our days and years.

With all that was going on in Paul’s life and in the world at large, Paul asked the question, “What then are we to say about these things?”  What things?  All that has gone before in his letter about God’s grace and the realities of life and death and all that is happening in the lives of those to whom he is writing.

Are you weary of the news and yet you can’t stay away from it?  I confess that I am and I can’t.  We could make a list like Paul’s:  hardship, distress, peril, violence, the pandemic, political and social unrest, injustice, isolation, death, life, rulers, things present, things to come, powers…

What then are we to say about these things?

Here’s what Paul says:

 

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

I invite you to think about the words of the great mystic, Julian of Norwich (1343 – after 1416), as she looked out on a world of pain.  She lived during a time when the people of Europe were full of anxiety due to the Black Plague and the Hundred Years’ War.  Because of her deep faith, her message in her day was this: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “God Will Take Care of You” by Civilla D. Martin (1904). I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. Listen to this hymn on SoundCloud.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:

A FOREVER LOVE

God’s love will never let me go.

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