"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." Romans 8:39 (NIV)
Jesus unexpectedly showed up at my cash register that day.
Although my heart was hurled into the depths of despair before my shift, I had a job to do. So I wiped away my tears, buried my emotions beneath a pasted-on smile and strolled through the door with my head held high.
I worked at a local Christian bookstore, so books about Jesus surrounded me, and songs about Jesus serenaded me, but the grief inside me made me feel separated from Him. I was a champion at hiding my pain from God and others, and my trophy was gut-wrenching loneliness.
By God’s provision, one customer saw past my pretenses. As I rang up her items, she stopped me and said, “I sense the Holy Spirit leading me to hug you. May I come around the counter?”
I agreed to her proposition and watched her slowly walk around the counter to embrace me. My tense shoulders softened within the warmth of being seen.
This happened 20 years ago. I don't remember the woman's name or what she looked like, but I will never forget what God taught me through her obedience.
- Our deepest sorrows do not signify a separation from God’s love. In today’s key verse, Romans 8:39, “separate” comes from the Greek word chorizo, which means to divide, separate oneself, depart or go away from.
Paul makes it clear that “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [chorizo] us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Praise God! Not even the depths of despair can cause God’s love to depart from us.
- Feeling separated from God often stems from a longing to feel seen. While we may be surrounded by people at church, at the grocery store or in our own home, our inner turmoil can seem invisible to others. Yet God sees us so clearly that He knows every single hair on our heads. (Luke 12:7) And sometimes, He’ll send a willing vessel to remind us that He sees us. At other times, we can be that willing vessel to those who are grieving.
Unforgettable, holy moments can happen in unexpected places when someone is sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Because of one woman's obedience, I carry a vivid reminder that God is near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) Are we willing to have the same obedience?
Precious friend, if you are alone and hurting today, I pray the Lord will miraculously show up through His Word and through His people. He sees — He is near — and as John 10:28 says, nothing will ever snatch you out of His hands.
Heavenly Father, thank You that through Christ I am eternally secure in Your love. When sorrow makes me feel separated from You, help me feel seen by You. And help me share Your love with others who are hurting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 John 4:9-10, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)
John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (NIV)
How has God reassured you, through His Word and through other people, that you are secure in His love? How can you share God’s love with someone else today?
We’d love to hear about your experience. Share your thoughts in the comments!
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