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For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39).
The grace for our Golgotha pain, (“things present”) is received by our attending our Gesthemane and experiencing heart-felt prayer; even agonizing prayer:
“The Lord loves those who are honest. He will not desert those who are faithful to Him.”
We must go to the Garden alone, as did Jesus. (Mat 26:36). The Garden Alone
It is notable that in his mention of things which might dim the love of God to us, the apostle should make mention of “things present,” (Rom 8:38), and by “things present” he means the events and trials of the present day. Many of us know how things to come may tempt us to doubt the love of God. The anxieties and forebodings of tomorrow often cloud the sunshine of today. But Paul, who knew all that as well as we do, for his apostleship gave no exceptions, knew also the separating power of “things present.” The task in which we are presently engaged, the pounding duties of the common day, the multitude of things we must get through before we go to bed at night, these, unless we continually watch, are apt to blind us to the great realities and to “separate us from the love of God in Christ.”
Things Present May Blind Us to the Hope and Promise of Things Future
In part that separating power arises from the exceeding nearness of “things present.” Things which are very near command our attention, and cloud our vision and often lead to hopeless perspectives. When I light the lamp in my quiet study, the moon may be riding through the sky, the stars may be glittering in heavenly brilliance, proclaiming that the hand which made them is divine. But the lamp is near me, at my side, and I read by it and write my letters by it, and most often the stars are quite forgotten. Things present are things near, and near things have a certain blinding power. You can blot the sun out with a penny if you only hold it near enough to the eye. And yet the sun is a majestic creation, beautifier and conserver of the world, and the penny is but a worn and trifling coin. For most of us each day that dawns brings its round of present duties. They absorb us, commanding every energy, and so doing may occasionally blind us. And that is why, in busy crowded lives where near things are so swift to tyrannize, we all require moments of withdrawal. To halt a moment and just to say “God loves me”; to halt a moment and say “God is here”; to take the penny from the eye an instant that we may see the wonder of the sun, that, as the apostle knew so well, is one of the secrets of the saints, to master the separating power of things present. (adapted from devotional Sermons by George Morrison).
“Things Present” Are Difficult to Understand
Another element in that separating power is the difficulty of understanding present things. It is always easier to understand our yesterdays than to grasp the meaning of today. Often here in the northern mountains and wilderness, it is difficult to see the path just in front of you. Any bunch of bushes, trees, or plants may hide it from us. But when one stops for a moment and looks back, generally it is comparatively easy to trace the path as it winds across the forests or the mountainous heights. So we begin to understand our past, its trials, its disappointments, and its illnesses; but such things are very hard to understand in their actual moment of occurrence, and it is that, the difficulty of reading love in the dark clouds of “present things,” which constitutes their separating power. Many people thank God for the discipline of early childhood. But as a child it was often quite unfathomable, and we sometimes doubted if our parent loved us. We are all God’s children, never in love with the discipline of love, and in that lies the separating power of “things present.”
One of the most potent ways Jesus accomplished this separating power of “things present,” was to “come apart and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31)
“He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone” (Mat 14:23).
In His earthly ministry Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude– Himself alone, entirely by Himself, alone with Himself. We know how much our interactions with people draw us away from ourselves and exhaust our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this, too, and felt the need of being by Himself again, of gathering all His powers, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.
How much more does the child of God need this– themselves, alone with spiritual realities, themselves, alone with God the Father. If ever there were one who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, apart from His quiet time with God.
Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God. Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself! — Andrew Murray
I recently read what one man wrote about a secluded walk in his garden where his mother always spent a certain hour of the day, upon which nobody ever dreamed for a moment of intruding. It was the holy garden of the Lord to her. Poor souls that have no such Gesthemane. But surely we are to seek our private chamber, Jesus says. It is in the solitude that we catch the mystic notes that issue from the soul of things.
My soul, practice being alone with Christ! It is written that when they were alone He expounded all things to His disciples. Do not wonder at the saying; it is true to thine experience. If thou wouldst understand thyself send the multitude away. Let them go out one by one till thou art left alone with Jesus. . . . Has thou ever pictured thyself the one remaining creature in the earth, the one remaining creature in all the starry worlds?
In such a universe thine every thought would be “God and I! God and I!” And yet He is as near to thee as that– as near as if in the boundless spaces there throbbed no heart but His and thine. Practice that solitude, O my soul! Practice the expulsion of the crowd! Practice the stillness of thine own heart! Practice the solemn refrain “God and I! God and I!” Let none interpose between thee and thy wrestling angel! Thou shalt be both condemned and pardoned when thou shalt meet Jesus alone! — George Matheson
Today’s Alone Time Prayer
Let Your Love Surround Me, Lord
“Let your steadfast love be upon me Lord; even as I hope in you.” (Psalms 33:22)
Sometimes, life involves feelings of despair, of feeling not connected. In this text the Psalmist is refelcting upon the fact that to wait upon God is to adopt the “strategy” of determined faith. In fact, from Psalms 49:1 he says:
“I waited patiently for The Lord, and He heard my prayer.”
By this kind of waiting on God, we find comfort and hope. “Light in every cloud.”
“Our soul waits for The Lord, He is our help and our Shield,” (Psalms 30:20)
Can Separate Us Video