Romans 8:38-39 ESV
From the Jar
Life can be so very strange.
It’s always full of ups and downs. When my four kids were little I remember thinking how crazy and difficult life was day in and day out.
Having four kids meant there were generally two squabbles or moments of glee going on in different parts of the house. When they were young, a squabble and a glee-filled moment sounded much the same.
I remember playing referee a lot.
When there was a disagreement, I would attempt to hear both sides of the story. Then, as expected I would render a decision.
That seldom went well.
Somewhere along the line I decided I was tired of being the “judge” so I started making them talk it out to decide what was fair.
We didn’t get a better result, but they did figure out eventually that things aren’t always as cut and dried as they seem to be. They learned that life is complex.
Probably about the same time I became obsessed with figuring out what Romans 8:38-39 means.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome (Romans 8:38-39) “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.”
At one time I wondered and wrestled with all the elements and parts on earth and in heaven that can NOT separate us from by the love of God in Jesus. Since I believed scripture is true, why did it feel so untrue in my everyday life.
Why didn’t I feel the love of God in Jesus when I was dealing with the complexities of life?
Why did my life seem so strangely separated from the life I read about in scripture?
If nothing can separate us, why did I often feel separated?
So, I would pray about it.
I’ve said before that my prayer time when my children were small happened after all the children were asleep in bed. Thankfully, since they were very active during the day, once their heads hit the pillow they fell asleep quickly and they slept all night.
I’ve been told that is not often the case with children so I consider it a miracle that they all slept through the night without waking up (unless they were sick).
When I wrestled and prayed about how separate my life seemed to be from the love of God in Jesus, I ask God about it.
The process of understanding it took time but eventually my Spiritual Director helped me to realize that God wasn’t separating Himself from me, and I wasn’t choosing to separate myself from God. I just couldn’t see or hear Him through the noise.
Today when I’m asked why people have difficulty establishing a close and very personal relationship with God I ask them if they are comfortable turning off the television, their cellular phone, or the radio for an hour. Most of the time they say they need the noise.
See, most of the time the noise makes it so we don’t hear ourselves think, or we don’t hear God speak to us.
Once I turned off the noise I came to realize I experienced moments of great peace.
Today as a grandmother of eight children, I’ve come to realize that children are geniuses in their own right. My four youngest grandchildren have taught me more than I expected. Once again that’s because I’m older now and I listen to them better. My grandson who is nine is a quick but careful thinking person. He loves Jesus and knows scripture. I’m surprised by how much scripture he has memorized. My grandson who has cerebral palsy has an incredible gift of seeing the world through an emotional lens. He is an empath. His twin realizes that and he watches his brother and learns from him. He watches and protects his twin brother.
My youngest grandson has the gift of honesty and he possesses the ability to give and receive great love.
Because I was younger when my 4 older grandchildren were young, I didn’t always see all of their unique gifts. I now know they have great gifts but I didn’t realize it when I was younger.
Age does have great advantages when we take time to watch and listen. In order to do that, I needed to turn off the sound.
I gradually came to a point where I could feel God’s love because I turned off the noise so I could hear God and FEEL God. The tone of God’s voice eventually became so unique that I gradually recognized it.
That took time and practice. That’s why they call it Spiritual Practice. We learn as we practice.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Silence
Sit in silence with God. At first, silence may be all you experience. That’s a very good thing. Silence is God’s first language. If you experience silence you may be able to FEEL God’s love for you. It’s a marvelous experience. Sit in silence with God for as long as you want. If you need some noise, try sitting in front of a fan.
And…even if it’s only for ten seconds, that’s okay. Call it good and remember this is practice.
In God, Deborah