If God … (Romans 8:31)

What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us?

Romans 8:31

Paul is about the shift gears and his pivot is this: What is our response to all that we have considered to this point? In light of all the amazing things that have been addressed so far — how undeserving we are of salvation and yet how freely God offers it; the depths of God’s love for us; the rescue that He has effected by redeeming us; the Holy Spirit’s intercession for us in prayer; the lack of condemnation from God; the balancing act of free will and predestination that Paul just slides right past in v.28; the fact that God makes everything work itself out to a net positive in the life of the person who loves Him and is called according to His purposes — in light of all that, I must respond. Paul’s response is simple: If God [is] for us, who [is] against us?

It seems too facile; too easy a thing to reduce it all to that, but it is true. If God is for me, then what, precisely, stands a chance against the Creator of the universe? And if the Creator of the universe is working everything together for a net positive in my life, then why am I complaining or doing anything other than resting secure in the knowledge that He has everything under control?

I spoke somewhat vaguely about a decision that is troubling me and  God keeps bringing me back to one irreducible question: Do I trust Him? If He is for me, then who or what can stand against me? I need this reminder in the most desperate way this morning. There are difficulties that will assail me; challenges that will make life difficult; temptations that will seem like legendary beasts. But God is for me.

I am sure that I am not the only one who needs this reminder today. So, if you are reading this, I would like to ask you to do this little mental exercise with me. First, look at the thing that is troubling you — the problem or challenge; temptation or fear. Now look at God. Stare long and hard at Him. Realize that He spoke the universe into existence. Remember that doing the impossible is practically His hobby. Remember the circumstances of Isaac’s conception and the beginning of the exodus from Egypt. Think about Jericho’s walls crumbled to rubble and Gideon’s three hundred men sending an army several times their size running scared into the night with clay pitchers and torches. Recall a young shepherd standing before an armored giant and three faithful young men being pitched into a furnace so hot that it killed the soldiers who threw the men in … and remember that the shepherd and the three faithful young men are the ones who walked away from those encounters. And once we have finished remembering all that God has done in the lives of others, let us remember what He has done for us. Once we have the magnitude of God securely fixed in our minds, let us look at that thing that is troubling us. If it has not dwindled to near non-existence, then we need to stare at God some more.

There is a song I sang, growing up:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Let me look full in His wonderful face and the things that trouble me will grow dim in His light.

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