On Sunday, Pastor Rob will continue his sermon series drawn from the content of his new book, When the Bottom Drops Out.
During this series, he is sharing the lessons he and his family learned about God’s grace in the midst of profound disappointment. In addition, he will lay out a biblically based “theology of suffering” that will enable us to persevere through the inevitable storms of life. In our devotions this week, we’ll examine four biblical truths that we see playing out whenever we face trouble of any kind.
We thank Kim Miller -- a senior editor at Tyndale House Publishers who worked with Pastor Rob on the editing of his book -- for preparing these devotional thoughts . Kim also attends Wheaton Bible Church, and leads a small group of sixth grade girls in Quest56.
This week we are reading and meditating on Romans 5. Today we will read verses 6 through 8. The text below is taken from the New Living Translation, but feel free to read from the version of your choice.
6At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you’ve ever spent any time around a two-year-old, you can probably vouch for the following unspoken property laws that dictate toddlers’ behavior:
1. If I want it, it’s mine.
2. If I’m holding it, it’s mine.
3. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
4. If it’s broken, it’s yours.
Whether your reaction to watching two toddlers tussle over a toy is annoyance or amusement, what you’re witnessing is evidence of original sin -- the inborn propensity we all have to turn from God and put ourselves first. The good news, according to our reading for today, is that God has provided a solution for the sin that would otherwise destroy us: “Christ died for the ungodly.” And notice that He acted “when we were still powerless.” We deserve eternal separation from God, yet even though sin blinded us to our need for Him, Christ came to die for us.
And that’s not all: When we repent and admit our utter dependence on God, the Holy Spirit works in us so that we are no longer helpless to sin. Yes, we will still fall, but we are no longer unable to resist sin.
Still, we can’t escape the consequences of selfish decisions and evil actions, let alone flash floods, biting dogs, or cancer. They are a consequence of what Pastor Rob, in his book, identifies asTruth #1:
We live in a fallen, sinful world.
In chapter 2 of his book, Rob acknowledges our tendency to get angry at God when we or someone we love suffers because of an illness, accident, or other misfortune. In fact, unbelievers often point to suffering as proof that either God doesn’t exist or is powerless in the face of evil.
Yet when we understand the magnitude of God’s work on our behalf, we no longer need to live like screaming toddlers, out to get what’s ours. We no longer need to shake our fists at God or try to make life work on our own terms.
Because of Christ, there is hope. Even through our tears, we can “rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).
Thank You that You loved me so much that You were willing to suffer and die so that I could find freedom from the weight of sin. Thank You for shouldering the penalty for my sin on the Cross. Help me to look to You for the strength I need to move past the difficult things of this life, filled with joy as I look forward to living with You forever.