A Christian band that goes by the name, Jesus Culture, recently produced a song called, “One Thing.” The lyrics go, “Higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant through the trial and the change, one thing remains. Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me. In death, in life, I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love. My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love.”
These lyrics come directly from one of the Apostle Paul’s most encouraging injunctions, “For I am sure 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” (Romans 8:38-39).
Paul knew quite a bit about persecution, calamity, trials and tribulations. His faith was no “pie-in-the-sky” belief system that slaps a veneer of pseudo-hope over the troubles of this life. Paul experienced the brutal realities of facing mountains of persecution, the threat of the grave, trials and constant change (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). But Paul knew that one thing remains, and that nothing can separate us from that one thing, the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When everything is stripped away, what is the one thing that remains constant in your life? When sickness comes, the death of a loved one, fire, flood or unemployment find their way to your door, what remains?
I have a cousin who serves as a missionary in South Sudan, and I just received a text this morning that she has to be evacuated by the military because of ongoing fighting between the rebels and government soldiers. Even as I’m typing these words, I received another text that they can’t evacuate her yet due to the heavy flight traffic of government officials and dignitaries.
When my family and I were in Wichita this past week, we watched a DVD my son picked up at a youth event called, “Love Costs Everything.” It’s a documentary on the persecution of Christians worldwide, the type of news that typically falls below the radar. The DVD gives accounts of pastors beaten in India, churches bombed in Iraq, Christians fleeing their homes and becoming refugees because of militant Islamic rebels.
And what are the mountains I face? A few critical emails. An unhappy parishioner. A leadership challenge to navigate the waters of congregational change. My cousin in South Sudan and those facing persecution around the world make my mountains look like molehills. What is the one thing that remains for my cousin and for those who face real threats around the world? The same thing that tenaciously gripped the Apostle Paul: the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My prayer for you is that you will be gripped by the same thing. Whatever mountain you face, know that the one thing stronger than the grave, that is constant through the trial and the change, that will never fail you, give up on you, or run out on you is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Receive His love. Receive Him, and allow His love to wash over you and give you a true hope that endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).