Friday, March 27, 2009


If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?
– Romans 8:31-32
One of the themes of the Lenten season is the call to follow Jesus regardless of the cost. In fact, it seems that suffering is an inevitable part of the Christian life and witness. However, it is in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life that we often question God’s provision and providential care. We often feel that the forces of the world are all working in concert against us. Although we gain strength from the fellowship we share with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we often wonder whether anyone is truly for us. Is anyone truly with us in the midst of suffering? The apostle Paul offers a response. The One who is for us and with us is the One who is in us. God, who has sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts, is for us and not against us. He desires our success, not our failure.

It is important here to note that Paul does not say that God is for me and my individual needs and desires. But rather God is for us collectively as members of the Body of Christ. This does not mean that God is not interested in my individual needs and desires, but rather that God responds to us as part of a larger whole. In other words, it is not primarily about me, but the building up of the Body of Christ, that God is concerned.

The fact that we are part of the Body of Christ and that God is indeed for us is a source of great encouragement in the face of suffering. Paul powerfully reminds us of how great God’s love is with his famous words in Romans 8:37-39.

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.

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