Can you remember the last time life threw you a hard and fast curve ball? Was it, like, just last week? Me, too. Often, it seems, fear cuts in on the tailwind of that thing and hits me full in the face. What to do about that?
Well, first I tend to I fret and worry a bit. Or a lot. Then I begin to scheme and strategize, to try to find my way through the miry mess. That’s exactly where I was this morning, immersed in Romans and battling an urge to make things happen On. My. Own. Terms.
But inevitably, eventually, I realize yet again that I cannot control the situation. Fortunately, Someone has my back.
I began a journey through the Apostle Paul’s writings a few months before taking my Big. Trip. Paul seems like an old friend, especially after walking in his hot and dusty footsteps. There are plenty of ways I still don’t “get” him — ahem, especially some of his thoughts on women — and maybe I never will. But there’s a lot to appreciate all the same.
Paul wrote several of my all-time favorite verses: Romans 8:28, 31, 38-39. I don’t find Romans, or Paul, easy to read. His wordiness bogs me down. But this morning, Paul’s letter to the Christian believers in ancient Rome was just the encouragement I needed. We put the run on fear, my pal, Paul, and I.
I loved this scripture first as a song I learned in the late 1970s It is a powerful and calming reminder of God’s love. I’ve been singing it all day! The words go like this…
For I know that nothing can keep me from the love of my Lord
Neither death nor life, the fears I have today, nor my worries for tomorrow
For all the angels speed it on its way…
and the power of hell itself cannot keep it away
Oh, it makes no difference if I’m on the mountaintop, or at the ocean’s sand
For the Lord has made it all and all is in His hand
Yes, I know that nothing can keep me from the love of my Lord!*
In Romans 8, a man often pursued and persecuted for his stalwart faith insists that God works the good in all things for those who love him. All things! He doesn’t say that we will like the situation. Or that we wouldn’t choose otherwise, if we could. He says that God will cause everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.
If God was working for the good in that oven-like prison on the hill outside of Ephesus? In the shackles and chains? Floggings and stonings? Shipwreck and snakebite? Years of house arrest and hardships untold? Well, then. That’s good enough for me. Surely He can work for the good in this thing, too. My thing? This is nothing. Nothing!
If God is for us — Paul and you and I — who can be against us?
*I don’t recall who wrote it but would gladly give due credit if I could figure it out. (Let me know, will you?)