Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 8:31-39 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There’s a term that was coined during the coming of age of most millennials— FOMO. FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out that has struck many young adults and teens, and even older people as well. Social media allows us to see what our friends and family are doing in real time—without us. It almost sounds silly, but seeing other people having fun without us every time we check our phones has contributed to the skyrocketing levels of depression and anxiety found in youth and young adults.
FOMO makes us think that there is always something better happening. It is more difficult to commit to plans when something more interesting could pop up on your radar at any moment. Enjoying the present with the people around you becomes harder when your mind is preoccupied with what else could be happening.
In the Scripture this week, I see Paul asking a question that seems to pertain to a spiritual FOMO.
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? (Romans 8:32, ESV)
I can’t help but ask myself if I have ever experienced a spiritual FOMO. Have I ever felt like God was holding out on me and that the idea of “all things working together for the good” (Romans 8:28) looks a lot different to me than it does to Him? The Bible offers examples of many others struggling with this “spiritual FOMO.” Eve, in the Garden of Eden, felt like there was more out there than just being made in God’s image and that God had been holding out on her and Adam. Abraham and Sarah felt like God was holding out on giving them their promised son and took matters into their own hands. Even those who spent quality years with Jesus argued about who would be the greatest in heaven, worrying that they would miss out on something good.
Paul seems to be assuring the people of Rome that they are not missing out so that they can pause and enjoy a moment with Jesus. Our brains are so wired to move from one thing to the next, without even trying, that we have to be intentional in slowing them down in order to understand the depth of Paul’s letter. If God gave His very son to die for us, what would He possibly try and hold back from us?
The Greek word Paul uses to refer to “all things” is πάντα (panta). This word takes a deeper root than our definition of “all” by defining it as wholeness or totality, not leaving anything out.
Isn’t that the good news of Jesus? The totality of His life, death, and resurrection, the wholeness of His love. What more could we want that He would withhold?
Recalibrate: Have you ever experienced spiritual FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?
Respond: Pause for a moment in prayer and be honest with God about what you really want or what you feel you are missing out on.
Research: Learn more about FOMO research by reading this article in Psychology Today.
Remember: “For I am sure 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, ESV).
Jessyka Albert has been associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church since 2016. She grew up in Washington State, graduated from Union College, and is engaged to Kiefer Dooley, Rocky Mountain Conference associate youth director. Jessyka is passionate about children’s, youth, and young adult ministry.
Play a game of soft landings. Using a beanbag or a large pillow, roll over or tumble into the beanbag. If your little one is strong enough, let them flop back into the beanbag on their backs. You can be your child’s soft landing by catching them as they jump off something. Jesus is our soft landing. He stands at the right hand of God, ready to speak on our behalf.
Play your favorite game. Do you like to play this game because you are good at it? Do you like to play this game because you play it with your friends? Have you ever played a game where you just kept on losing? Why did you keep on playing? When Jesus died on the cross and His family buried Him, evil thought it had won. Jesus loves us so much that He chose to keep on playing for Team Live Love to show that love beats death. Jesus kept on playing because He loves who He is playing for. Jesus played for you.
The text asks, “Who would dare point a finger?” It goes on to point out that God is not only our redeemer but He is also our judge. When I used to hear that God was judging us, that scared me. This text shows us how God as our judge is an amazing thing; it should give us huge assurance! Someday, we will stand before God. If we are living in His Spirit, we will be clothed with His righteousness. Have you ever felt uncertain about where you stand with God or if God will continue to stand by you? No one and nothing can challenge God’s judgement. God’s judgement should only scare us if we are not under His righteousness. Let this passage be an assurance that no one dare point a finger if we are with Him!