Christ Church, Susquehanna
What then are we to say about these things? 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?
When I read Paul’s words of courage and hope to the Romans, I am reminded of a friend who is skilled in prodding me into action when I am fatigued or overcome by the burdens of the day. “Buck up,” he says, “and stop looking at the ground.” “Bucking up” is what Paul is doing for the Romans. They are on their journey of learning what it is to be a Christian and practicing their faith in an extremely hostile environment. In the passage before today’s reading, Paul tells the Romans to lift their eyes, look beyond present sufferings and notice the fact that transformation is occurring in the world and in the hearts of people. This transformation is accompanied by pain and dislocation that like the groaning of labor pains. He then bucks them forcefully. After saying “what then are we to say,” Paul’s words of hope and courage come in a great rush – for me this is a like a great shot of adrenaline.
If God is for us, who is against us? Where will I find some bucking up as I start my journey? Well, some I will find in regular and unhurried reading of scripture, including this passage from Romans (more on that in a moment). Some I will find from others I seek out, preferring not to expect them to find me. Some I will find in moments of quiet reflection that I intentionally carve out of each day. Will I be put off or set back by the groaning and labor pains of a transformation? No, with God’s help I will focus on the road ahead.
This passage from Paul is a favorite of mine and a source of great strength. I was 22 years old when my father died from a painful illness. What young person is prepared at age 22 to be separated from a loving parent? One week before his death, I found this passage and read the Book of Romans for the first time. Moments before his death, my family grasped our hands and read the passage that tells us that “neither death, nor life..nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
I hope you find this passage worthy of packing in your bag for the journey.
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