Edward Payson (1783–1827) led an extremely difficult life. The death of his younger brother shook him to the core. He struggled with bipolar disorder, and he was affected by extreme migraine headaches for days. If this wasn’t enough, a fall from a horse led to paralysis of his arm, and he almost died from tuberculosis! Surprisingly, his response wasn’t one of despair and hopelessness. His friends said that before Edward passed away, his joy was intense. How could that be?
In his letter to the believers in Rome, the apostle Paul expressed his complete confidence in the reality of God’s love regardless of circumstances. He asked with boldness, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If God gave His very own Son, Jesus, to save us, then He will provide everything we need to finish this life well. Paul listed seven seemingly unbearable situations that he himself faced: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and the sword (v. 35). He didn’t imply that Christ’s love would stop bad things from happening. But Paul said that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v. 37).
Through the uncertainty of this world, God can be trusted completely, knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing, “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39).
When you face seemingly hopeless situations, how do you typically respond? What promise of God can you cling to, knowing He is faithful?
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In Romans 8, three things jump from the page to fill God’s child with assurance and hope. Verses 1–4 remind us that “there is now no condemnation” for believers in Christ. This affirmation gives us confidence that in Jesus we’re brought into right relationship with God and are safe from judgment for our sins. The bulk of the chapter (vv. 5–27) confirms the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering us in living out our faith. The final segment (vv. 28–39) assures us that God’s love for us will never die or diminish. After seven chapters that speak to our failings and our need of a Savior, chapter 8 builds a case for spiritual confidence in Christ. His protection, Spirit, and love have come to us through the cross, reminding us that we’re loved and cared for by the Father.