I travel a lot. I have a tendency to often move to different states and, on a whim, fly to far-off countries. I prefer traveling with my mom or one of my sisters. It’s a blessing to explore a strange place with a person I know and love at my side. But there are times when I’m traveling alone and nobody's there to provide a sense of comfort. Those are the scary times.
In the bible, Paul writes to the church in Rome, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 8:38-9). In short, nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Paul wrote this part of the chapter to address the persecution the church faces in Rome. He asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Paul tells the church that with God, the world has no control over us. Think of the persecution taking place around the world. North Korean citizens are forced to worship Kim Jong Un. This regime places those caught or suspected of being a Christian into labor camps. Paul wrote this letter specifically to the Roman church but His words are from the Holy Spirit, and all churches need to know. Persecution is of this world and nothing in the world can separate you from Jesus.
Paul references hardship. When divorce knocks on the door and you leave your home just with a toothbrush and a change of clothes, God leaves with you too. No corner of the world is too far from God to reach you. God is omnipresent. He is with you through life and death. He is with us through our tribulation.
Anything we face in this life will not separate us from God. The government has no ability to pull Jesus out of your heart. Therefore, persecution has no power. God won’t abandon you if you’re destitute. Hardship has no power. Through the fog of war, God is at your side. The enemy has no power.I travel a lot and soon I will be going on an extended trip to a place I’ve never been, alone. But what did I just say up there? I won’t be alone. I’m never alone. God is with me. He is omnipresent. A long distance from home, loneliness, and fear will never separate me from God’s love. When the time comes to pack my bags and step on the plane, I’ll be afraid of what’s to come. But God will be with me and that’s the greatest sense of comfort I could ever have.