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.
What a declaration, and what a promise! We withstand a lot of fiery trials, we endure disappointments, and sometimes we wage war in the spirit. Not to mention, if we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we also have a holy Fire burning within, that is burning the chaff away. Sometimes we are insulted and rejected by our fellow men. All of these things can sometimes make us feel distant to God.
At times like these I find myself asking God to not let anything get between us. The truth usually is that something already was between us, and it is only at this moment that it is dredged to the surface. Not in order to create distance between God and me. Not to condemn me, or to cause panic. The reason God brings things to the surface and makes us stare them in the face, and feel distant to Him, is so we realize the ugliness of what we have been harboring in His temple, which is our body.
Even the adversity from our fellow man can point to an issue God is bringing to the surface.
If we wouldn’t feel distant and ugly for a moment in time, we would never find it in ourselves to properly deal with issues that are hanging on to us. But as it is, they are brought to the surface, and we are given ability to repent of them as they bring us godly sorrow—and in this we find healing. We also find healing by confessing our sins to one another and praying for one another according to James 5:16.
After this process is completed, one issue at a time, one enemy at a time, one callous layer at a time, we find ourselves closer to God than ever before. So the very thing we feared would rend us from the hand of God, did just the opposite—it drew us closer to Him. Not the existence of the evil, but the conquering and removal of it. You see, after we are children of God and have put ourselves in His mercy, everything that comes up can and will—if we are willing—be used to draw us closer.
He is always wooing us and seeking ways to draw us closer. But many times there are deep roots that need to be pulled out to make room for Him. He doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer, but He sees the final product and knows it is worth it for all concerned.
But there is also a warning in the midst of all the hope I find in the verse listed above in Romans. It is an unspoken one which is why many people miss it. I have heard people quote this verse as a reference to justify a belief in eternal security. Granted, this verse practically does promise eternal security, but there is one caveat: It does not say that we cannot of our own volition walk away from God.
All the things listed, are external forces. So as long as we cling to the mercies of God, and do not willfully walk away, and endure to the end, there is nothing that can separate us!