Sometimes when you’re hurting, all the reason in the world doesn’t matter. I’m pretty mechanistic myself, I am intrigued by how things work. The myriad signals in the cell which can malfunction and lead to cancer are fascinating, but that doesn’t really matter if it takes away someone you love. Sometimes instead of the how or the why, we just need a hug. Being in pain can make you want to withdraw. Our society prizes self-sufficiency, and we pat ourselves on the back for trying to make it on our own. Most of all, we really do need love, all kinds of love.
That’s why I keep going back to God. No matter how bad life gets, His love never fails.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-The Apostle Paul, Romans 8:28-39
No matter what happens, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Paul says that death can’t, which seems intuitive; why should death pose a barrier to its conqueror? Paul also says life cannot separate us from the love of God. Sometimes life is worse than death. When we experience tragedy, or live in sorrow and can’t bear it any longer, we often ask for death, like Job:
“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? [...] Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!” -Job, Job 3:11; 6:8-7
Life is more troublesome than death, in death we seek an end to strife, but even life cannot separate us from God. All the struggle, the turmoil cannot separate us. This is the more profound statement. No matter what happens to you, though your flesh is mangled, your emotions a wreck, or your spirit broken, God is there. Think of your worst moment, your darkest hour, even that cannot separate you from the love of God. Sometimes we cry “God where are you? Why have you left me? Why is this happening to me?” Yet, He is there. I don’t comprehend it, but when no one else understands your pain, He is right there, with you every moment, though you don’t feel it. The pain can’t remove you from His love, nor the faults you find within yourself, your anger, depression, all that is wretched in you. Most importantly: you cannot separate yourself from God’s love. Oh yes, you can reject Him. He will not force His love on you, but if you want His love, you are not great enough to prevent it. You cannot do something so bad that He wouldn’t want you, you are not so loathsome to be beyond His love.