Separation Anxiety

I closed my sermon yesterday with one of the most beautiful, comforting, and inspiring portions in all of Scripture.  I’m speaking of Romans 8.31-39:

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 can condemn? 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, 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.

Of the many things that stir my heart in this Scripture, I think the one thing I find most captivating is the promise of comfort and presence.  I started thinking about “Separation Anxiety” the other day and how it applies to us.  It kind of came to my mind in a funny way.  Laura and I have been discussing the possibility of getting a dog.  I was hesitant at first, but now I’m completely pumped about it, and I spent about two straight hours last night looking at dog breeds and reading about them.  I also looked at the mutts available on websites at local animal shelters and homes.  I’m leaning towards mutts- nothing against your dog if it’s a pure bred, but mutts just seem a bit mellower and laid back to me.   It’s like the pure breeds know they have papers, and they act all bratty about it.  But anyways, in reading about dogs, a couple of the different breeds were said to have serious “Separation Anxiety.”  When the owner leaves for any amount of time, the dog really freaks out in fear of the unknown distance between it and the owner.  The dog couldn’t handle being removed from the presence of its companion.

Now, I’m not comparing myself or you to a canine, but if we are honest, I have elements of separation anxiety in my life and most likely so do you.  I think at some level, all people deal with it.  It often manifests itself in relationship with God.  You might start to feel like God is too distant.  God is angry.  God is not listening.  Or, because of where you are in your life or because of certain struggles and issues, God’s love is no longer extended to you.  The Scripture totally obliterates the idea that because you are tired, sad, lonely, mistaken, tempted, stuck in sin, arrogant, careless, timid, overwhelmed, or anxious, that you are separated from God’s love.  In Christ Jesus, God’s desire was to redeem all of creation (Colossians 1.20).  This of course, includes you, even when you are broken and disoriented, frazzled and feeling separated, God’s love has not been removed and it has not left the building. 

For more about God’s love, see the Parable of the Prodigal Son- Luke 15.11-32

Guiding real people to embrace a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ