God can conquer suffering with his overwhelming love

Sunday, August 7, 2011

There is a lot of suffering in the world.

God has been opening my eyes to this lately.

People we love die, and it hurts. People are without a home and hope, passed by day after day. Elderly spouses who have loved each other all their lives are separated, and it hurts not only them but their children as well. Women in our country and other countries are abused. Drought. Loneliness. Not knowing how to comfort someone we love. It all hurts.

But two words have also been on my heart lately: conquer overwhelmingly.

Paul's words in Romans 8:35-37 first struck me when my cousin gave me the readings to prepare for his wedding. "What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? ... No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us."

Through him who loved us first. Who loved us so much he died for sinners, to conquer every bad thing that would ever touch us, and to conquer it overwhelmingly. To give us back the love and abundant life original sin and every sin after that steals away from us. We have already won the battle, in Jesus Christ. Jesus has overcome even the last enemy, death, to win us back to him, his love, and his plan that we should live forever with him.

Even before we live forever with him, though, while we are still here on Earth, no form of suffering can separate us from his love or his presence. Every disappointment, every breaking of our heart, every crushed cry for help is heard and felt by him who never leaves our side. His heart breaks for us when we suffer. And how he is longing for us to believe that even our heartaches are transformed into victories by our God who cannot be overpowered by anything.

God does more than see our suffering: he crushes it with his overwhelming love that makes darkness light, brokenness whole, and old things new. Our hearts know something we are afraid to hope is true: we were created for more than suffering and sadness. Our hearts break because they are longing for the wholeness, and completeness of the God and the Heaven we were created for. God calls us to abide in him and his perfect love while he has us here spread his love to others on Earth. I never want my heart to become so afraid of the hurt caused by suffering that it doesn't break for what breaks God's heart.

After all that happens, we are God's. He is holding us, being everything we need him to be, loving us, and he has already won the battle.

He has conquered our suffering with his love. Overwhelmingly.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39.

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.

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