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Wednesday 28 August 2019 – God is not Against Us

Romans 8:31  What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32  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? 33  Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34  Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 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.

This passage is written against a backdrop of a Jewish Christ-following community that believed God rewarded righteous people with long life, wealth, and children. Conversely, God was thought to withdraw from the unrighteous, allowing hardship, suffering, poverty and even death to become their punishment.  Paul wrote to correct this:  he posed the question “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”  The answer is emphatic: nothing that has traditionally been called God’s punishment “will be able to separate us from the love of God”.

When tough times come along, they are not a sign of God’s displeasure. Instead God accompanies us through every moment of the hardships of life. And because of the Divine presence “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

  • Refrain:
    It is well with my soul,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford, 1873

Ordinary 18

40 God’s Abundant Provision

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 249.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)