This passage is written against a backdrop of a Jewish Christ-following community that believed God rewarded righteous people with long life, wealth, and children. Conversely, God withdraws from the unrighteous, and lets hardship, suffering, poverty and even death become their punishment. Paul writes to correct this: he poses the question “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” The answer is emphatic: nothing that has traditionally been called God’s punishment “will be able to separate us from the love of God”.
When tough times come along, they are not a sign of God’s displeasure. Instead God accompanies us through every moment of the hardships of life. And because of the Divine presence “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Ordinary 18 / Pentecost +1140 God’s Abundant Provision
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 249.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.