For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
It’s Valentine’s Day, so love is all around. Today is one of those days where we make a celebration of all things pertaining to what we call love. As children, we give Valentine’s cards to our classmates. We carefully select which card to give to each person on the list, dropping hints or taking extra care to not send the wrong message to others. As we move into teenage years, we celebrate a little more selectively sending roses and balloons to our friends and that special someone. As we get older, that attention on this special day turns to our spouse and children. Each stage is filled with little rituals of love and relationships – flowers, candy, cards, dinner dates, jewelry – all meant to be a symbol or reflection of love for someone special.
This year I sent Valentine’s day cards to my five grandchildren. I wanted them to know although separated by distance, Mimi was thinking about them and loves them. I thought about our relationship, and my relationship with their parents as I ready this passage. There is nothing that any of them could do to stop me from loving them. It doesn’t matter how much time or distance is between us, nothing can separate them from my love. I know as they get older, their love me will continue, but the excitement that they have for me will change as they develop other relationships and have different interests. Yet when I think about how my children and grandchildren have went through these moments, and know how it hurt my heart. Even as my grandchildren have entered the stage where they are glad to see me, but I don’t hold their attention and affection as much as I once did, or as much as I still want theirs. I know that I will still be there every time they come to me, with arms wide open and a full heart.
I realize that nothing can separate me from the love of God. Although I have often let things separate me from receiving His love. I have had times where I lacked interest in the moment of even wanting to experience His love for me. I wanted my independence, and at times I was just down right rebellious. I would push back, just daring Him to try to love me. I know that I have hurt His heart more than my children or grandchildren could ever hurt me. He gave His son to die for me, that had to hurt more than I can or would want to imagine. Yet, God is always there, with arms wide open, telling me there is nothing that I could do that would separate me from His love.
The image that came to my mind as I was writing out the passage, was video games. Probably fresh on my mind from spending a few days with my son and his family, video games are generally at some point part of the visit. My husband and son are a little competitive in their gaming, but it has been something they do together since my son got his first gaming system as a child. I am not good at video games, but generally they will humor me with a game of monopoly on the system (because I have learned to role the dice). This time I had them play a little Tetris, one of the few games I have ever been able to play.
I thought about the obstacles that God says will not separate us from His love. I pictured the things that would come up in the video games, and the determination in playing the games despite the lost lives, the repeated levels, the attacks and obstacles, we kept playing regardless of what we faced. How much more does God pursue us with His love? This passage says nothing can separate us from His love. I just pictured God continuing to level up in the love, because nothing is more powerful or determined as His love.
His love is not symbolized as a heart that will at some time stop beating; it is symbolized in the Cross, that bridged the gap we could not cross. He has already won the final round. His love endures forever. Nothing can or will ever separate us from His love.
Prayer – Lord, thank You for Your love that is prefect and everlasting. Thank You that nothing separates me from Your love. You don’t stop loving me when I mess up, or decide that I am too busy, too distracted, or just not interested. You don’t stop loving me because of my actions or inactions. You don’t stop loving me because of my words or thoughts. You don’t turn Your back on me just because in a moment I think I should. The enemy can’t stop Your love. I can’t run from Your love. I can’t be separated from Your love because Your Spirit is inside of me and You are love. Teach me Father, to love more like You. To love so completely, that others can not doubt my love for them. Let Your love flow in and through me because I know I can not give what I do not freely receive. Thank You father, for never letting me go, and never stopping Your love from reaching me!