Does God no longer love me if I have troubles?

Originally published Wednesday, 05 August 2015.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:35 & 37 (NLT)

My dad opened his Bible on Sunday and started to read from Psalm 73:

"No doubt about it! God is good—good to good people, good to the good-hearted."

I played with threads on my top wondering where this was going.

"But as for me, I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness.

I was looking the other way, looking at the people who seem have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.

I envied those that prosper despite their wickedness.

They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!"

I thought of all the dark thoughts Xylon and I have had about why Xylon had cancer and others who live less healthily don't. 

I heard my dad’s voice continue reading but the words he read sounded like I sometimes do:

"I started to question:  

“What does God know?” 

    “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”

"What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?"

I’ve been stupid to play by the rules; what has it gotten me?

A long run of bad luck, that’s what—a slap in the face every time I walk out the door. Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your goodness. If I’d have given in and talked like this, I would have betrayed your dear children.

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!

When I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache. 

Until I entered the sanctuary of God then I saw the whole picture:

We wake up and rub our eyes. Nothing. There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.

I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you."

As I listened to my dad’s deep voice I started to hear God speaking gently to me through the words of David, talking to me about how my heart had hardened towards him through all the ups and downs of Xylon’s cancer.

And then my father read these beautiful words:

"Yet I still belong to you;

I’m still in your presence,

    but you’ve taken my hand.

You wisely and tenderly lead me,

    and then you bless me."

An echo of the promise “that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I found my heart softening, I felt myself respond with David:

"God, You’re all I want in heaven!

    You’re all I want on earth!

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,

    God is rock-firm and faithful.

I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is!

I’ve made Lord God my home.

God, I’m telling the world what you do!"

My dad closed his Bible but left me with an open heart. 

I realised on Sunday that no matter what hard things are thrown my way, regardless of how many angry questions I hurl at God, I still belong to God. I am his. Nothing will ever change this. 

This devotional is compilation of Psalm 73 from two translations of the bible, the New Living Translation and The Message. I used two versions to make the devotional read easily. I encourage you to read the original versions here. In case you’re interested, my Dad read entirely from the New Living Translation.  

Ponder: What is God saying to you as these bible verses?

Prayer: Thank you God, that no matter what you and I go through I still belong to you. Amen.

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