The reading today has one of my very favorite passages from the whole Bible. That’s right, it’s the often quoted verses 38-39 speaking of how nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord”.
Wow. What a powerful statement. In a world of temporary fixes and unpredictable changes, it’s a rare day that we have such a promise. When everyone lets us down, our friends fail us, our family disowns us, our community abandons us, and even our church disappoints us, there will always be the great and powerful love of Jesus Christ to support us, heal us, and make us whole again. The best part about this promise is that it protects us not only from outside forces, but also from ourselves. No matter what we do—no matter what terrible, despicable sin we engage in, no matter what wicked temptation we succumb to, and no matter how much we fall short of God’s glorious plan for us, there is no possible way we could make Him stop loving us. That is the sheer beauty of this verse. There is nothing, absolutely nothing any man, woman, angel, demon, nor any other being or force could do that would stop God from loving us. His commitment to us is so strong that it surpasses all else—even our own weaknesses.
I think it is this reassurance that so many of us seek for in our lives. It is this reflection for our eternal need for God that causes us to seek out that eternal love in other sources—in friends, family, and significant others. Ideally our relationships with everyone we meet should mirror the deep and glorious love that God has for us. We emphasize commitment because God is committed to us, and thus our lives are a likeness of this yearning.
I talked once to a friend about how I didn’t want to be dependent on others, and how I didn’t want to need others; he, being much wiser than I am, counseled me that it is alright to depend on others, because it’s just a reflection of my dependence on and need for God. God created us with this need and reassurance of eternal love, and there is no one who can fulfill this promise but Him. And no matter how well we search or how deeply committed we are to others, only His love will truly be with us forever.