Of all our Christian T-shirts, the Bible Emergency Numbers is easily the most popular. You can see why. It lists 25 important Bible verses for 25 different situation you might face. Each verse can help guide you through a tough time, remind you to be faithful, or give you the lift you need to get through the day. In this post, we’ll dive into the first of those Bible emergency numbers to help you understand how that particular passage can help. Today we’re going to look at Romans 8:31-37, for when you feel down and out.
It’s normal for all Christians to feel down and out sometime. While our lives can be wonderful (God gives us fantastic blessings), they can also be terrible. People have accidents or get sick. We lose jobs or have friendships that fall apart.
In Romans 8, St. Paul talks about waiting patiently in this broken world.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
All of creation groans under the strain of the futility and pain in the world. Even the rocks themselves look forward to the day that Jesus returns to give freedom and glory to his people. We, too, groan under the strain, waiting for our glory and our freedom.
Yet, we hold on to the promise that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” That helps us wait patiently, knowing that God is with us.
Not long ago, hard times used to drive people back to church. We’d realize that we need help, and the church would be the perfect place to get it. That’s where you hear the message of God’s love and gather with God’s people for support.
Now, however, feeling down and out tends to drive people away from each other. I’ve seen it in my church. There are people who are faithful and committed to a congregation. They’re in worship every Sunday, and they volunteer.
Then something bad happens. Suddenly, they’re nowhere to be found. Pastors call, visit, and offer support. But they disappear.
Why? There are lots of possible reasons, but I suspect that too many of us expect God to bless us with health, wealth, and happiness. Life is great, and we stay committed to God, as long as everything is good. When life goes bad, however, we leave. They act as if God isn’t with them in difficult times.
That’s the opposite of Paul’s message in Romans 8. He says that we should expect pain, sadness, and loss. All of creation lives through this pain just like we do.
Greek and Roman Christians understood this. They saw what happened to Paul when he went from town to town. He produced miracles, evangelized thousands, but he also was persecuted. Here is what he says about his life in 2 Corinthians 11:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
If that could happen to Paul, why not us?
Through all this, however, Paul’s wants us to have hope to wait patiently for God to deliver us. We wait, because God has promised to save us. This hope keeps us going.
To emphasize how certain our hope is, Paul writes these powerful words in Romans 8:31-37:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.
God is with us no matter what, no matter how sick, how hurt, how depressed, or how poor. God is always with us.
That Father promises to protect us the same way he did for Jesus. He was with Jesus, supporting him, through his earthly ministry. He watched and protected his son.
But Jesus still faced persecution and rejection. He still lost loved ones. He still got hurt. He even died terribly on the cross, feeling as much pain as any human being has felt.
But the Father never left him.
Not even when Jesus gave up his spirit. Not when he was pulled down from the cross and wrapped in a funeral shroud. Not when they rolled the stone closed over the tomb. Our Father was with him.
And our Father stayed with him on the day of Jesus’ resurrection. The promise of God came true for Jesus when his body returned to life and became perfect.
We have the same promises through Christ. Because the Father was with him, the Father is with us. Because God took care of Jesus, God takes care of us. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too will rise.
Paul tells us that nothing, nothing, can separate us from the love of God. He gives a long list of terrible and powerful things. They have no power. Nothing can separate us from God.
That’s an important promise to hear when we’re feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders. LIfe doesn’t always go well. In fact, Christians should expect it to go poorly and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t.
But we should also expect to hear God’s promise to be with us. He will never leave. He will never go away. He will never abandon you, even in your graves.
When you feel down and out, wait with patience. Trust that God will be with you through it all. He was with Jesus when the worst happened. He was with Paul through all the beatings, the stoning, the shipwrecks, and everything else. He will be with you, too.
That’s why Paul can say that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Even though life can be tough, and it can get us down, Jesus’ love stays with us. He comforts us with the promise that Jesus will return to give us the glory and freedom of the sons of God.
Christians who are down and out, who feel crushed by the world, need to hear this promise. That’s why it’s so important not to retreat when life goes wrong.
We need to have our brothers and sisters around us to tell us it will be ok. We need to hear our pastors promise God’s love to us through our whole lives. We need to have people who will hug us and cry with us.
God uses our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us. They comfort us. They support us. They keep us focused on the God’s power and his love. We need to be where they are. We need to gather with them in worship.
Listen to God’s word. Listen to the people he sends to help you. Take comfort that he is with you no matter what.
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