Thursday, September 3, 2020

Separated - Martin Wiles

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38 NLT
For the first time in my young life, I felt the pain of separation.
Not counting the first three months of my life—Mom birthed me at a military hospital in New Jersey—I had only lived in South Carolina. When I turned ten, Dad accepted the call to pastor a church in Jackson, Tennessee. Before I knew it, I was leaving friends, schools, cousins, great-grandparents…and grandparents.
One set of these grandparents I was particularly close to. This grandmother babysat me and took me on Avon runs. This granddaddy let me work with him on the ice cream truck during the summer. Now, what would I do? I don’t remember the level of my pain, but I know I missed what I had left behind as much as a ten-year-old boy could.
For four years, the separation continued. My grandmother helped by coming to see us twice a year. On one of those trips, she would take me back with her where I would spend the summer with them, see my great-grandparents, visit my other set of grandparents, and spend time with my favorite cousin.
These summers helped me deal with the pain of separation—but it didn’t take it away. Nine months lay between those summer visits. I knew all those I left behind still loved me, but feeling their love from so far away was difficult.
Paul’s sense of separation differed from mine, but hurt just as much. His mission travels took him all over the known world. We know little of his family, but he must have had one. On those travels, he felt the pain of misunderstanding, persecution, shipwreck, snakebite, stoning, and prison. He must have wondered—if only every now and then—if God still walked by his side.
Paul assured himself, and us, that nothing can separate us from God’s love—just as the miles didn’t separate me from my grandparents’ love. When connected to God by faith, He sends the Spirit to permanently reside in our lives. This is His way of sealing us as His own. Once securely in His hands, no one can snatch us away. Neither do miles separate us, for God doesn’t measure distance—just as He doesn’t calculate time.
Through His Spirit, God gives us all the guidance, comfort, and wisdom we need to navigate and to enjoy life—wherever it takes us.
When you feel separated from God, remember He never leaves your side.
Prayer: Father, thank You that nothing can ever separate us from Your love.

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