No, 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.” Romans 8:37-39
Just the other night, as my family was discussing some of the latest updates concerning the virus, we commented on what the Surgeon General said about this week being our “Pearl Harbor.” Oh boy. That doesn’t sound good. Holy Week of all weeks, to boot. The fact is, not only are we dealing with the national and regional effects of the virus as we brace for more bad news, but we’re also coping with our own individual fears and challenges during this time. My family called it “the storm within the storm.” Certainly, some of the things we worried about previously have dissipated. God has a way of resetting us and helping us to focus on what is truly important during times of crisis. That is one of the “benefits” of going through a trial (James 1:2). But the sudden change in life that each of us are facing is presenting a new set of problems.
During one of Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings, he mentioned the effects of “cabin fever.” I was glad he did that. It gave people a sense that they’re not the only ones going through the pangs of isolation. “Cabin fever is an accompanying affliction to coronavirus,” he said. “It manifests in feelings of isolation, mood swings, resentment toward others and irrational outbursts.” While I vehemently oppose many of the Governor’s positions, I agree with this statement. Statements like these also give people hope in knowing they’re not the only ones that are struggling while sheltering in place.
While we are in our homes, many with more time on our hands than we could have ever imagined, know that, while you may be isolated, you are not separated from God’s love. Nor His plans for you! That is what God’s Word promises! You may be thinking how your plans have been suddenly put on hold, but know that nothing can thwart God’s plan for you or anyone else.
Indeed, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, no amount of isolation can ever separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. This counts for this life and the life to come. When the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the above verses, he was speaking from experience! This was part of his personal testimony from one who survived personal assaults from all the things he previously mentioned in verse 35— “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” But God caused him to triumph! In fact, this is my own conjecture, but I believe Paul may have been thinking about that truth as his head was on the chopping block outside the Roman dungeon where he been incarcerated. As the executioner’s sword came down, I could just picture him exclaiming, “More than conquerors!”
One final Scripture, attesting to our Lord’s provision and protection over us, taken from the best known of the Psalms. Here King David, no stranger to severe hardship—writes this testimony as to his Lord’s faithfulness throughout his entire life: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
May our Lord’s rod and staff protect us and direct us. Let us know that with the same confidence as the apostle Paul: “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.”
Pastor Joe Garofalo