Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Grace Greater Than Our Sin"1 (Lyrics)
We often travelled by skin boat (called a umiak) when visiting our family's tin mine in the White Mountains in Alaska, USA. The boats were made of walrus hide stretched over a framework. In my first year of life, wrapped completely in sealskin, I was lactose intolerant and screamed and threw up that entire nightmare trip up the Yukon River. The incessant bawling took its toll on any adult nerve. Back then allergies were a different story.
When we reached the mine, my father threw the howling bundle that was me, from the heaving umiak into the arms of indigenous workers on the riverbank. "I couldn't tell which end of the bundle was screaming, " my father would chuckle in his retelling, "Not that it mattered." It was just a casual throw, but someone waded out from shore and grabbed me in time. Was there just a moment of hesitation before I was caught, an opportunity instead to drop my relentless noise into those icy, arctic waters? I've sometimes wondered, as it became one of his favourite stories.
Dad's most beloved poet was Robert Service. Shortly before my father died, when he found out that my writing was included in a northern mystery anthology along with Service, he told me how proud he was of me. "And to think that a daughter of mine would be included with the greatest poet who ever lived!"
But we can never doubt the love of our Father God, Who cares for each of us as though we were the only one He had to care for. The apostle Paul is specific about that care at the end of Romans 8, making two lists of ten items each, covering every single thing that might make us think that God doesn't love us anymore, or cause us to be afraid or anxious. I've always found that every pain and suffering that I've ever experienced is included:
Romans 8:35,38-39 – Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening 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 which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (AMPC)
God, our heavenly Father, can do everything but fail. May we begin to count exclusively on His love as we encounter some of the many possibilities that Paul lists.
Prayer: Dear Father God, help us to rest continually in Your love and find the peace that You offer in this world which You have created and which You control with power and wisdom. Keep us believing and living in that love, available to all of us who call upon You as our Father. Help us in times of affliction and tribulation to turn to You for strength to go on. Make our faith and our love stronger as we walk with You through this world today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.