How can we believe that God is loving when He doesn’t intervene as we expect a loving God would? This week, Pastor Lutzer confronts our expectations of love from 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.”
- Romans 8:38–39
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes with Pastor Lutzer. We are discussing the attributes of God; the beautiful, mysterious attributes of God. And today we are talking about the difficult attribute of the love of God. Let me ask you something very honestly, and I want an honest response from you. Haven’t you often thought that you and I are actually more loving than God?
Recently a young mother died of cancer at the age of about 44, leaving four children or three children behind. If I were God, and if I loved her, I wouldn’t have allowed that to happen—at least that’s the way we think. We might be wrong, but that’s the way in which we think. Someone said these words: “When I see that God does nothing about things that matter so much to me, it’s hard for me to believe in His love. I know that He loves me; Jesus died for me; but I would think that a loving God would intervene and do some things for me that I would expect love to do.” We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
Well, listen to this passage of Scripture, and I think it will give us hope. The Bible says in Romans chapter eight—and that’s where we are—and I am picking it up, I think, about in verse 38: “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, or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What a passage. Now if you’ve been with us in the previous times, you know that we discussed the fact that God loves the world—John 3:16. But there’s a special love for those who are in Christ, and clearly this passage speaks to God’s unconditional love, that nothing will ever separate us from His love. Now when you look at this passage, it becomes very obvious that what God has chosen to do is to not show His love toward us by removing difficulties; by making sure that life is a smooth path; by answering all of our prayers; but rather, through tribulation, through difficulty, He is going on and loving us in ways that we do not understand, that will become clear in the future when we are with Him.
But notice the list! In fact, even before this verse, he is listing other things that cannot separate us from the love of God: nakedness, poverty, the sword, martyrdom. So God loves us. Even when we look around at times and we see no evidence of it, we believe it on His bare word. After all, we look at Jesus Christ and we know He sent His Son, which is proof of His love to redeem us that we might be His forever. And Jesus, who is loved by the Father from before the foundation of the world, He had to go to the cross. And sometimes God asks us to go to our cross, even though we are loved just like Jesus was loved. Be encouraged.
You know, I think that one of the greatest singers of all time was George Beverly Shea. I loved his baritone voice. And of course, he’s in heaven now. And you remember how we used to sing at those great Billy Graham crusades. And I remember, when he would sing about the love of God, he said this: “Greater far than tongue or pen could ever tell; it goes beyond the highest star, reaches to the lowest hell.” But then he comes to this stanza that I’ve always liked:
“Could we with ink the oceans fill, and were the sky of parchment made;
Were every stalk on Earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.”
God’s love is really His timetable for us. He does it according to His timetable and not according to our longings. Hang on to God’s Word no matter what. You’re redeemed. You’re loved eternally, even as Jesus is loved. Today, go with God, and I’ll see you right here next time.