“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he asks his readers what seems to be a rhetorical question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” One would think that the simple answer is “no one,” but when you really take a minute to think about it, I am not sure it is that easy.
In any given life, lots of people can be against us. Often times we think of big, grand enemies that are constantly out to get us: the Devil, the “system”, the “other side”. These are all hard to totally wrap our minds around, but they provoke anxiety in even the strongest person because they are so hard to fully comprehend. Then there are the somewhat more relatable yet still nebulous enemies: the ambitious new coworker, the mysterious guy you are competing with that girl over, the woman who just cut you off in traffic. We don’t know these people in full, we can’t really know their motivations because we haven’t spent enough time with them to fully understand.
But in reality, most of the hurt in our lives comes from people we are much closer to. We can see this in many of the statistics that come out of some of the most hurtful themes in our world today. Ninety percent of school shootings are done by people that have an affiliation with the school that they terrorize. The vast majority of kidnappings and abductions are done by people within families; rarely are children taken by a stranger. Many suicides happen with guns that are already in the house of the person that is hurting so deeply. As human beings, why are we so often compelled to hurt the things that are closest to us? Things like our families, our friends, our communities, or even ourselves? We fight against ourselves all the time. It may actually be the toughest fight that many of us face in our lives.
Thankfully, while the passage above might seem, at first, like a rhetorical question, it actually does have an answer. And Paul gives us that answer a few verses later.
“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.’ (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
Who can be against us? An enormity of people, places and things, as Paul himself lists out above. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things?”
“Jesus loves Me, this I know.”