Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NRSV)
Recently, I was reflecting on a crisis in my life, and I came to realize the truth. Being separated from God can feel like being trapped in a cave which is so dark that nothing can be seen. You grope anxiously along the walls, knowing that, if you could only select the right sequence of turns, the light from the exit would flood in and show the way. But you have no idea how to find those turns. You feel alone, afraid, and abandoned.
Others have compared the feeling of being separated from God to wandering aimlessly in a dense fog. For a brief moment, the fog may lift, and you may catch sight of God. But otherwise you feel confused, disoriented, and hopelessly lost.
It is at these times in our lives that we may experience our deepest despair, and our greatest longing for God. On the cross, Jesus experienced these feelings Himself. He knows how we feel, and, in His compassion, He suffers with us the anguish of our pain, when we face our cross.
Paul's writing reminds us that separation is not God's plan for our lives. Like a good shepherd, God searches for us when we are lost. God will find a way to reconnect with us, to guide us around the corners of the darkest cave, or through the thickest fog, so that we can walk together again. It is God's desire and joy to be present with us, and we can trust that God will ultimately overcome anything that stands between us.
Our passage through a dark cave or a dense fog may be neither quick nor easy, but, as resurrection people, the hope we can rely on is that God will indeed bring us out of the darkness, and back into the light of God's enduring love.
Prayer: Ever-loving God, we thank You for Your words assuring us of Your abiding love. In our darkest moments, when we feel separated from You, perhaps even abandoned by You, help us to hold on to Your promise that nothing can separate us from Your love. Give us the courage to bear the darkness, believing that You will find us and bring us back together with You. Amen.