One of the great promises in the Bible is the apostle Paul’s declaration that nothing can separate us from the love of God. This verse has made its way to countless songs, sermons and devotionals. It is indeed a very comforting thought.
Looking closely at that part of scripture reveals something interesting. The writer specifically lists some things that God’s love overcomes, including affliction, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, and danger of death. He then says “I am persuaded…” that none of these (and other things) have the power to separate us from God’s love.
To say “I am persuaded” means that the realization wasn’t there from the beginning. Somehow this truth became concrete to Paul through a process. And any Bible student knows exactly what that was in the apostle’s life. The book of Acts tells us that Paul faced the very challenges he listed: affliction, anguish, persecution, and the like.
God’s inseparable love for me is a fact. But sometimes I have to be convinced. His method for accomplishing that is to put me in a situation and love me through it. It’s not always sweet, but it gets the job done. Eventually, I’m persuaded.
When we’re in tough situations it’s sometimes easy to believe that God has abandoned us. When we have pain. When needs have gone unmet. When we’re in that “dark night of the soul” and help doesn’t seem to be at hand. What I’ve come to realize is that God hasn’t abandoned me. I’ve abandoned myself. He’s there, and He cares. But he expects me to cooperate by caring for myself.