Read Romans 8:35-39
35-36 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble,pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food,danger to life and limb,the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.
37 No,in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.
38-39 I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life,neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth,neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow,neither a power from on high nor a power from below,nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord! (JBP)
What can a Christian person offer another Christian person when life seems pretty bleak? There are three basic options. One is to offer nothing but despair,though this by definition is not really a Christian option. Another is to offer solutions,perhaps a quick-fix remedy that will banish the sadness immediately. This,at least,has something positive about it. But it is unrealistic and thus ultimately unhelpful.
What we offer instead is hope. The content of that hope is well expressed in our passage today. Life may be hard but we are,despite appearances,on the winning side. Jesus has overcome all that would dehumanise us. The war against evil and despair and darkness has been won by him. And we share in his victory.
And yet hope by its very nature looks to the future. Hope is a glad confidence that God will be true to his character and his promises. Whatever we may endure now,we know God will be with us. Whatever life throws at us now,we know that God can work it for good.
However dark our present circumstances may be,we know our future eternity is assured.
We need not despair. Nor do we naively assume we will live free of trouble here and now. Hope is not based on the absence of trouble but on the presence of Jesus.