An old hymn says, ‘When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll . . .’ Those words acknowledge an obvious truth. Life is a mixed bag, a mixture of good and bad, of joy and sadness, or tragedies and treasures. Romans chapter 8 is just what we need amid the uncertainties of life.
Romans 8: 18-39
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[b] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.
In order to be able to cope with all that life throws at us there are certain attributes we require.
We need PERSPECTIVE (18). Suppose you were given a free month’s holiday at a fabulous resort, but you encountered a short stretch of bumpy road to get there. Would you say, ‘I’m sorry we ever started out’? No, you say that a bit of aggravation isn’t worth comparing with the joys of our month-long holiday.
We need PATIENCE (19-24). We are in the ‘groaning period’ of earth’s time span, but better days are coming. Eternity is ahead, we must wait for it patiently.
We need PROVIDENCE (25-30). As the Holy Spirit prays for us, the heavenly Father sees to it that all things work together for our good.
We need PRAISE (31-39). This chapter ends with a doxology of worship, and that attitude infuses us with triumphant joy. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
So when peace like a river attends our way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, take time to read Romans 8 and say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul’
I’m sorry that last week I didn’t have the space to write God Bless, Doug, but this week I can just squeeze it in.