Dubai Skyline, UAE Photographer: A Vahanvaty from Dubai, UAE
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.” Romans 8:28-39
A few years ago a group of engineering professors were invited to fly in a plane: Right after they were comfortably seated, they were informed the plane was built by their students. All but one got off their seats and headed frantically to the exits in a maniacal panic. The one lone professor that stayed put, calmly in the seat, was asked: ‘why did you stay put?’ ‘I have plenty of confidence in my students. Knowing them, I for a fact can assure you this piece of crap plane will never even start.’”
Thankfully the story is made up, but there are plenty of reasons to view life in a lens of caution and uncertainty. Pliny the elder was the first we know of to say “the only certainty we have is uncertainty.” Indeed it seems almost nothing is certain in this world. People and institutions fail all of us at various times. In the midst of all of these uncertainties of this world, there is one thing we can be certain of, that God loves us very much.
How can we know God’s love for us? It may sound basic but we know this because the Scriptures make this abundantly clear. The evangelist Billy Graham describes the Bible as “God’s love letter to us.”
The perpetual temptation for many Christians however is to view God through a lens of experience in tough times. The problem with getting our theology from our experiences is that we will be let down eventually. The Apostle Paul who wrote two thirds of the New Testament lived a life of suffering. He was imprisoned many times, suffered countless beatings, five times received thirty nine lashes, three times beaten with rods, three times he was shipwrecked, lived in constant danger, was on many occasions homeless and hungry and he was ultimately put to death in for his belief in Christ. If the Apostle Paul based his theology off experience our Bible would probably be a lot shorter because I doubt Paul would have kept his faith. He would have seen his experiences as God’s disapproval of his life and probably gave up his faith.
Thank God Paul trusted in God’s love and His word. Jesus shows how defining and big of a deal the scriptures are on multiple occasions. In the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke we see Jesus resurrected from the dead speaking with his disciples. A strange thing occurs in my mind, Jesus, once dead, but now alive, has a Bible study with his disciples proving He is the Christ. You would think Jesus being alive just talking with them would be enough, but Jesus wanted to show once again how he fulfilled the scriptures by dying and having been resurrected. Jesus I believe was modeling the importance of basing our theology and lives off God’s word.