Since the eclipse on August 21, 2017 it seems as if natural disasters have seized the world’s stage. From the landfall of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and an earthquake in Mexico in between these events, tribulations have marked the first weeks of September.
These events appear to confirm the tribulations of the end times as foretold by Jesus in Luke 21: 25 (ESV):
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring”
Amidst the crumbling earth and the tumbling seas, what can we rely on? I believe the answer is found in Romans 8:38-39 (ASV).
On August 22, I happened to witness a dramatic display of dark clouds stretching across the late morning sky. As an avid fan of weather studies, I knew that the formation and movement of these clouds indicated that a thunderstorm was on the way. I identified the large, puffy clouds as cumulus clouds and a few thin, feathery clouds as cirrus clouds. Watching this silent yet dramatic performance move across the sky, I quickly snapped a picture.
I envisioned a battle similar to the one described in 1 Samuel 17: 21-24 (ESV) taking shape. I imagined the Philistines, represented by cumulus clouds, charging after the Israelites, represented by cirrus clouds. I could imagine the fear gripping the Israelites as Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, taunted them. We learn later that a champion arose among the Israelites, David, and defeated Goliath under the power of God. I began crafting a poem, Nothing shall separate us from the love of God. My poem attempts to intertwine the chaos of the battlefield, the atmospheric events of a thunderstorm, and a message of hope:
Cumulus, puffed up like Philistines, charge at Cirrus.
Their voices booming, sneering, jeering.
Cirrus, frightened like sparrows, flee from Cumulus.
Their voices wailing, failing, fading.
A driving rain drenches victors and victims.
Cumulus, feet sticking, slipping, sliding, boldly grab muddy spoils.
Cirrus, feet sticking, slipping, sliding, quickly grab torn shields.
Crack! Crack! Boom!
Thunder stops everyones’ pace.
Flash! Flash! Boom!
Lightning tears through their ranks.
A gray mist swallows the battleground.
Then the Sun arrives, glowing through the mist.
Cumulus, frightened like sparrows, flee from the Sun.
Cirrus, rejoicing, declaring to their Lord,
“Nothing shall separate us from the love of God!”
As my battle poem emerged, I saw lines reflecting Romans 8:35-39 (ASV):
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all the day long.’We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Returning to my August 22 picture, I was delighted to notice a faint rainbow emerging as the storm passed. Glory be to God! I believe that it is not so much a matter of what we rely on but Who we rely on. We can rely on God because His love is working for us even in the midst of our fears, our battles, and our tribulations. With a love as strong as His, we, like the Israelites, can rejoice in knowing that our Champion always wins for us!
Please join me in declaring. “Nothing shall separate us from the love of God!”