31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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.
I had to go to the dentist this morning. It was only for a cleaning but I managed to get myself completely freaked out about going two days ago. Now that it’s over I wonder what all the angst was about. You see, I’m afraid of the dentist. Just the thought of walking over the threshold into the building makes my blood pressure rise. I’m sure it has to do with some event that took place at the dentist while I was growing up but as an adult I know that fear is irrational. My knowledge that I’m being irrational doesn’t calm my nerves. I’m still afraid. There is even a part of my brain that is grateful I live in a place where I can receive regular dental care. It’s a blessing – I guess.
What does that have to do with Romans 8? Well, today’s passage is about fear, at least in part. Paul sums up this great, weighty chapter with a resounding shout of victory. There is nothing and no one who can remove us from the hand of our Almighty God; not on this physical plane or in the spiritual. This is a big statement because we do have enemies; those who hate us for our faith or who just plain hate us. (The people at the dentist’s office don’t hate me – it just seems like it. And I don’t hate them – it just seems like it.) Paul even admits that it won’t be easy. But ultimately, we are the victors because we belong to the victory winner – Jesus Christ. This gift has already been won on the Cross. There is no doubt about the outcome for it has already been settled. We have nothing to fear. We may have a few things to face, but we have nothing to fear.
When foundations shake for me, I always turn to Psalm 27. Over the years this psalm has slipped into a place of great importance for me. I probably read it at least once a month and have spent several sessions of meditation upon its verses. I offer it up again today because it’s worth the read and speaks to so many of our fears. Even King David knew that being with God was perfect protection. Nothing could touch him when he sought out the Lord.
1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
11Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
14Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
There are things far scarier than the dentist to fear in this life. But none of them are equal to the power and protection of the Lord. The Bible never says we won’t have enemies or be assaulted by life. Sin has made sure that we will. But God is greater than all of it. In Him I stand protected and it is a great comfort.