a more personal reflection of a year-long study of ROMANS…
Truth and mystery.
The mind stretching realities of God and yet the plain truth spelled out through all of scripture – the deep, inexplicable LOVE of Creator God for His creatures. A love that expresses true compassion and provides full and timely rescue.
Trust His love. Reach for His rescue.
Trust that it is His love that draws us into tumultuous circumstances OR simply into a study of truth like we have in Romans that challenges our thinking.
Both will lead us to wrestling what we think is right and good and just.
Both will punch us in the gut and often erupt in tense discussion, bold questions, and a lack of easy answers.
Both will strip us of stubborn independence when we land helpless and defeated.
It can all seem vaguely conceptual, frustratingly abstract and too “heady” for us. But really, these truths in Romans are difficult to receive because they hit us at our core.
We treasure the more narrative books of the Bible and the beauty of the story unfolding as the Savior steps into hard places with individual people and impacts them with human touch and Words of truth. Romans takes us to our own hard places. And sometimes His touch is a tougher love than we are ready for… but not one ounce less than His true rescue!
Circumstantially or conceptually, the journey is a harsh look at the reality of sin, its bondage, its destruction, the division it wedges between ourselves and God – and between ourselves and others. It is devastating! But, this is where His severity is always kindness – because He knows that in that desperate state, we will reach for our only true rescue.
God’s Spirit draws us to that place where any last bit of self-reliance is removed, so we can stand on the solid rock of Christ alone! He leads us through hard questions as we struggle to understand – wrestling with God until we surrender all over again, repentant and helpless, and cry out: “Lord, save me! Make this clear to me! Reveal Yourself and Your truth to me!”
And He does.
In tandem with this study of Romans, our family has clawed our way through a year of challenges on several fronts. There were times that the physical and emotional exhaustion left me in a place that I wasn’t sure I had the energy or inclination to grapple deep spiritual truths – especially the mind-bogglingly mysterious ones!
But Romans steadied me in ways I didn’t expect.
On the first day of school, as I walked the beach to pray for the new year beginning, I sensed Him impressing on my heart, “there will be mountains to climb this year… but I will be with you every step of the way.” I distinctly remember receiving that preparation with soberness, but not fear.
The reality I am living is that mountains are beautiful from a distance, or from the top – but rarely in the middle of the climb. The narrow focus of the climb can cave in too close, too steep. But my Savior has walked with me, intimately and personally, every step. And He has used Romans to ground my narrative – to provide the solid foundation of truth that is immovable regardless of the incline or the obstacles. In each new challenge, the breath of HOPE comes through loud and clear:
I see you.
I love you.
I have a plan.
I will not leave you drowning in the wake of sin’s destruction – in you or around you.
Trust My love – even when it seems severe – knowing it is kindness drawing your heart to Mine.
Reach for My rescue – as often as you need it – knowing it is sufficient and eternally secure.
Reach for Me and find that I am here.
Those who fear the Lord are secure.
He will be a refuge for their children.
Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain.
It offers escape from the snares of death.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest
in the shadow of the Almighty… He is my God and I trust Him.
This is what the LORD says,
He who created you. He who formed you.
“Do not be afraid, I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name.
You are Mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
the flames will not consume you.
For I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
You are precious and honored in My sight.
I love you.