On the days I'm struggling, I like to remind myself that Jesus didn't die for perfect people; He died for imperfect people, perfectly aware of their need for Him.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)
It was a warm spring morning. The birds were chirping, and geese and birds were flying high in murmuration. After my third restless night of sleep, the gentle sun peeked through my windows, waking me an hour before my alarm.
Making my way out of bed, I opened to Romans 8:38 for the daily Scripture reading. Attempting to rub the sleep out of my eyes, my eyes blurred. But a simple phrase penetrated my soul: "Nothing can separate us from the love of God."
The New Living Translation says it this way: "And I am convinced 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" (Romans 8:38-39, NLT).
Beyond Our Greatest Fears
And this morning, I felt God say to me, "Amber, I know you don't know, and that's okay. Because beyond even your greatest fears and most insurmountable worries, nothing can separate you from my love."
And isn't that the greatest news?
Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that in this world, we will have trouble. Calamities, worries, and fears are natural reactions to human life on a fallen planet. For those who experience mental health disorders like myself, these grievances are worse and even more severe. Nevertheless, isn't it a miracle to know that amid them, nothing can separate us from Him and His Love?
His love that is relentless.
His love that fights for us.
His love that goes above and beyond our deepest fears and most concerning circumstances.
Free From Condemnation
As a Christian who struggles with mental health, I'll be the first to say that this road isn't easy. When your mind's going a million miles a minute and depression hits you like a tsunami, it's impossible to simply "slow down the train and trust God."
But the beauty of Christ's love is that it's sacrificial and forgiving. He does not judge us for our struggles but sits in them with us. That's why the greatest measure of this love was represented through His death hanging on a cross. And for those who believe in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him, they can live free from condemnation in that love forever.
Romans 8:1-4 tells us: "So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. The law was without power because it was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do: He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that everyone else uses for sin. God sent him to be an offering to pay for sin. So God used a human life to destroy sin. He did this so that we could be right just as the law said we must be. Now we don’t live following our sinful selves. We live following the Spirit" (Easy Read Version).
These verses give sinners freedom from the trap that ensnares all of us from the time we're conceived. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This is why we need Jesus' love and forgiveness.
But beyond that, I want to be clear that those who struggle mentally often aren't sinning. Anxiety, depression, and mental conditions and disorders are not intentional choices to juxtapose ourselves against our Creator. They are the downfalls of living in a fallen world.
And not even those things can separate us from His love.
Not the endless anxieties that keep me up past midnight.
Not the waves of depression that drown me in their midst.
Not the overwhelming thoughts that often cease to leave my mind.
My God died because of His love for me. And not for a me who is perfect and all put together, but for me who is often anxious and crying on the floor. A me who doesn't have it all together. The me that knows little about how her future will turn out. The me that has anxiety and depression but also loves Jesus with everything she is.
Beyond The Unknown
On the days I'm struggling, I like to remind myself that Jesus didn't die for perfect people; He died for imperfect people, perfectly aware of their need for Him. Their dependence upon Him for their lives.
And this includes those who endlessly wrestle with anxiety, depression, and numerous other physical and mental health conditions.
Perhaps the best example of this principle is when Jesus praises the woman who gave her two coins. While the Pharisees and religious leaders were known for giving large sums of money, the willingness of this woman's heart was the greater measure:
"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on" (Mark 12:41-44, NIV).
Although this example demonstrates cheerful giving and the condition of one's heart, it also shows us something about love.
Jesus loved and loves everyone. He still does. But those who have the closest relationship with Him are pure in heart. Giving what they can. Raw and honest in how they're feeling and what they are struggling with. And just as this woman came as she was, giving what she could, we're encouraged to do the same–bumps, bruises, bondages, and all. Poverty, sorrow, and struggles included.
Because of the power of Jesus Christ, His salvation, and the free gift of the Gospel, I am convinced that neither death nor life can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39). That means that because Jesus conquered death and the grave and gives me life, not even those things can keep me from His presence. And on both my best and worst days, neither the shadows nor the blinding light can prevent me from being within His hands.
Neither angels nor demons–those above and beyond and all around my understanding–can prevent me from the protection of my God. The love of my God. The presence, peace, and comfort of my God.
And as much as I worry, fear, and create catastrophes in my mind, these present and future concerns have no power over what He has in store for me. The mountains may surround me, their height and depth towering, but nothing in this life is as big as my God. And nothing can separate us from His never-ending, forever faithful love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Forever.
Photo Credit: ©Emmanuel Phaeton/Unsplash
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,