Preacher: Tony Hunter
Daily Walk: Tony Hunter
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 80:14-19.
Read: Romans 8:31-38 (NIV). As you read the New International Version, note 1-3 insights.
Reflect: “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).
Separation can be painful. It hurts because it requires something whole to become not whole. It requires something to be broken down into components of that whole. Maybe you have fallen and separated your shoulder. That is painful. Perhaps one of your lungs separated from the wall of your chest cavity and it collapsed, making it almost impossible to take in enough air. Also painful. Maybe your marriage or some other relationship has come apart, separating you from someone who was as much a part of your life as your own body. That is a pain that tears at your very soul.
To separate something that is whole is to damage that thing. Both parts of it become incomplete. Both parts suffer. This is why in a relationship, usually people will fight to prevent that separation until they either succeed, or they lose hope for a good outcome and let the separation happen. It is just too painful for both parties to not find resolution. Although, unfortunately, many never do.
When we are the ones separated from another, it’s very easy, and reasonable, to focus on our own pain. We focus on how incomplete we are. How alone. How broken. How every morning we wake up hurting, feeling as though belonging as been ripped from us.This chapter in Romans shows us that we can’t be separated from God anymore. Jesus has guaranteed that. But that also suggests that once upon a time, we were separated. Jesus would not have needed to reconcile us if we didn’t need the reconciling. He brought us back because we had been pulled apart. We were no longer whole, no longer one with Him.
God also suffered the pain of this separation. He was not whole. He was not complete. His love was unfulfilled. The object of His affection had been torn from Him. And, if we truly were made in His image, and we felt the pain of that separation, how much more did He? I wonder how hard a being of God’s power, presence, and empathy might work to restore that lost part of Himself? Perhaps Jesus is the answer to that question.
Respond: Pray for God to bring reconciliation to the parts of your life that have been torn apart, so that you can be whole once again.
Research: What are some stories in the Bible that show the pain and consequences of being separated and broken?