This morning reading Romans 8 reminded me of the story of little Johnny visiting his grandparents on their farm.
Johnny was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced shooting rocks, but he could never hit the target. Discouraged, he headed back inside for lunch.
As he returned to his grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. Impulsively he took aim and hit the duck square in the head and killed it. Johnny panicked and hid the duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister, Sally, watching.
After lunch that day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally responded, “Grandma. Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn’t you Johnny?” And then she whispered to him. “Remember the duck!”
So Johnny did the dishes. What choice did he have?
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, and Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” But, Sally smiled and said, “Well, that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.”
And she whispered again, “Remember the duck!” So, Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed at the house!
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally could not stand it any longer. He came up to his grandmother and confessed that he killed the duck.
She knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. It does my heart good to see you admit you’re wrong and because I love you, I forgive you. But I was wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
Too many Christians are like little Johnny. They are trying to hide their sins. Deny their faults. Or cover their tracks. But the fact is we all sin. Even Christians. We’re not perfect. But we’re pardoned.
Paul reminds us in Romans that the “gift of God” through our faith in Christ and obedience to His Word offers justification from our sins. So, Paul raises these pertinent and practical questions.
Who can accuse us?
Who can condemn us?
Who can be against us?
God loves us with a love that is beyond human comprehension. Rhetorically, Paul asks “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
But to leave no doubt, the apostle emphatically and powerfully answers the question.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When Satan accuses you and tries to burden you with guilt, turn to the love of God to receive forgiveness.
When you face some trouble, trial, trauma or circumstances beyond your control that saps your spirit, remember God loves you.
When you lament the debilitating effects of sin that impact all of us. Either directly or indirectly. Crooked politicians. Greedy business people. Hypocritical church leaders. Fickle friends. All of which can leave us feeling betrayed. Empty. And alone. Never forget God loves you.
When feelings of loneliness, doubt or discouragement surface, lean on the divine truth that God loves you.
God’s love is greater than any adversity. Higher than any hurdle. Deeper than any hole. Wider than any sea. Stronger than any wind. Sweeter than any love.
God’s love cannot be extinguished. Bought. Sold. Compromised. Or diminished.
There is no circumstance, no person, or problem that can separate us from the love of God.
In fact, even your own rejection of God does not dampen His love for you. As a bumper sticker, I once saw said, “God loves you. Whether you like it or not.”
God has made a conscious choice to love us. Even while we were yet sinners.
God’s love is longsuffering. Kind. And unselfish. God’s love is wide enough to include all people. Deep enough to forgive all sins. And long enough to use all people for His purpose.
So when the world tries to dampen your spirit, and Satan wants to steal the music from within you, fill your heart with the melody and message of this song by Frederick M Lehman
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman