God is with us in our suffering – 26 October 2022
By Ewald Schmidt
God's Love in Christ Jesus
It is so important to remember the work God is busy doing in our lives. Yesterday, we learnt that God called us and justified us. He is busy transforming our lives, reconstructing us to the image of his Son. He is restoring us to glory, because we are his children. However, we are still living in a broken world.
Paul’s first readers were the first generation of Christians in Rome, the mighty capital city of the empire ruling the known world at the time. There were many different nations subjected into this empire and they were not all enthusiastic about it. Therefore, the emperor decided that each citizen of his empire should worship him as a god, so that they would not think about rebellion. Christians could not comply, even though they tried their utmost best to be good citizens in every other aspect of civil life. Persecution started, because they were now seen as rebels. It started with the restrictions on their civil rights. They could not partake in commerce anymore – not buying or selling anything. It later on led to arrests, and it escalated to cruel torture and public executions. Of course, this would be very unnerving for the Christian community in Rome. They would have asked themselves why they were being targeted and killed without reason.
At the backdrop of intense suffering, Paul reminded them, and us, of the suffering of Christ. He has given himself to the humiliation of dying on the cross for us. Paul asks the rhetorical question: if God’s love did not shy away from the cross, how would he not graciously give us all things needed for our journey in life? Would he not enable us to bear the suffering and endure all we face today?
Paul reminds us: what does it matter if the emperor or a worldly court of justice accuses you of believing in Christ? It is much more important to remember what God thinks about us. He has justified us – he has set us free, without condemnation (Romans 8:1,33). If we consider our eternal future, it does not matter what temporary setbacks we have to endure today.
Paul reminds us of what Christ has done for us and what he continues doing today. He carried the death penalty in our place. He has freed us from condemnation. He has conquered death; he has risen from the grave. He ascended to the place of glory, sitting at the right hand side of the throne of the Father. And at this moment, he is interceding for us as believers to conquer with him. He is with us every step of the way on our journey of life. That is why we can be certain we will make it!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you never forget about me. Thank you for your intercession at the throne of my Father. Thank you for reminding me that I have been bought dearly at the cross. Thank you for guiding me and giving me strength to endure when the going gets tough. Amen