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. – Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)
Why do you think Paul was convinced like he was? What is life like when you are convinced this is true? Have you been unconvinced before? Why? What was happening? Where was God’s love?
A question that has been asked of me several times goes something like this, “Can God still love me after everything I’ve done?” It seems like a simple “yes” cannot solve the actual quandary going on within the individual asking the question however. Perhaps the question arrives from the inability to love one’s self when we collapse under the weight of our own sin. Those moments of self-realization that enable us to discover we are not the people we should be sometimes become moments when we cease to love ourselves and thereby wonder if God can actually love us if we cannot love ourselves.
I once had a conversation with a mother about an unruly child. Her child had been in and out of jail, did not treat her particularly well, and had broken her heart several times. I asked her why she kept him in her life and she responded, “Because I love him, he is my son, there is nothing he can do to make me stop loving him.” I think I only understood this after I first held my son.
If this is a mother’s love for her son how much greater is God’s love for us? There is no answer to such a question, but it does seem that when we ask the question, “Can God still love me after everything I’ve done?” the only way we can respond is with a simple “yes.” There is no explanation about why God would still love; it is just how God is.
When Paul thought of the cross of his Christ he could not help but write those words of conviction about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. There displayed upon an instrument of torture was God’s love willing to suffer for the beloved, for you, for us, no matter how unlovable we think we are. For no matter who we are, in God’s eyes we are still the most precious bundle of joy ever created, and nothing can separate us from that!