Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 8:35-39
In the heart of conflict and chaos, where fear often takes root, the power of faith offers a profound sense of peace and resilience. For Christians living in war zones, the teachings of Romans 8:35-39 resonate with exceptional poignancy, offering a beacon of hope in the darkest of times.
At 3 am on a clear and starry night in August 2003, I sit atop my military vehicle awaiting the radio call to start a raid on a high-value target of the Ba'ath Party regime under the control of Saddam Hussein. The mission details stated that we were to raid an enemy stronghold at 4:45 am, a coordinated effort along with 49 other strongholds being taken down simultaneously across Baghdad, Iraq. The intelligence showed I would lead a team of six Soldiers into a house that was holding up to 35 Fedayeen Saddam–a paramilitary Fedayeen organization intensely loyal to the Ba'athist Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.
The thoughts that swirled my mind as I looked up into the night, waiting for the minutes to pass as I awaited the call, proved to be full of concerns that this may be my last night on earth. At that moment, a fellow soldier jumped on my truck and sat next to me, stating, “We are going to die tonight.” I responded with, almost convincing myself at the same time, “You don’t know that!” From that moment, we began a 45-minute conversation about our scripture passage above.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
In these words, Apostle Paul presents a rhetorical question, compelling believers to reflect on the inseparable bond between Christ and his followers. This connection remains unbroken, even amid the most harrowing circumstances – war, persecution, and danger. For Christians in conflict zones, this scripture reminds them that their faith is not a fair-weather friend but a steadfast anchor amidst life's fiercest storms.
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
These words acknowledge the reality of suffering and danger that believers may face. Yet, there is an undercurrent of fearless acceptance, a willingness to endure hardship for the sake of Christ. In war zones, where every day presents a struggle for survival, this scripture doesn't minimize the peril. Still, it dignifies the suffering by placing it within a larger narrative of faith and redemption.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Paul's affirmation here is striking. He does not merely suggest that believers will scrape through their trials; instead, he declares that they will be “more than conquerors.” This phrase implies a triumph beyond mere survival – it speaks of a spiritual victory where faith not only endures but flourishes in adversity. Paul’s statement is an empowering message for Christians in war zones, promising endurance and a profound triumph through faith.
“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.”
Here lies the crux of Paul's message – a declaration of the unbreakable bond between the believer and the divine love of God in Christ. This passage assures that no external circumstance can sever this connection, no matter how dire. For Christians living amidst war and terror, these words offer a deep-seated peace, affirming that their bond with Christ transcends all earthly trials.
In conclusion, Romans 8:35-39 is a powerful testament to the enduring nature of faith in the face of adversity. For Christians in war zones, these verses are not just words but a lifeline, a source of strength and fearlessness. They affirm that even amid conflict, faith remains unshaken, and the love of Christ is a constant, comforting presence. Paul encourages believers to embrace a faith that does not buckle under pressure but rises, fearless and resilient, against all odds.
Whether in a war zone or a time of peace, this message is for you today. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Let’s pray together: Father, I come to You and acknowledge that I do live in a war zone daily, whether it be in my mind or the physical. I am asking for peace in my heart. I repent of operating on my thoughts, as Yours are not mine but are higher and better. I repent of attempting to guard my life as You are my protector. Father, I surrender this day, all self-protection and fear. I choose to agree with the Apostle Paul in that “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.”
In Jesus Name, Amen!
Rev. Jeffrey Walsh
Ministry Director, CU Lux (Yale University)
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