HARDSHIP CANNOT SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall…hardship…?
~ Romans 8:35b (NIV)
The question asked is a personal one. Not “what” can separate us but “who”? The inference is our enemy, Satan, who tries every tactic he can garner to make us think we can be separated from Christ’s love. Today we look at his tactic of “hardship.”
Sixteen-year-old Lakech had always known a stable home in her small Ethiopian village of Moche. Her childhood as one of eight children was not carefree. But it was uncomplicated. Her father, a godly man, worked hard to provide the needs of his large family. They did not have an abundance; but they survived. While Lakech was growing up, her father and mother came to Christ. They labored hard and devoted themselves to bringing up their eight children in a God-fearing way. But two years ago, her father was framed by some enemies and charged with stealing trees.
The legal battle started with a hearing a few days later, dragging on for a year when the court found Lakech’s father guilty and sentenced him to a year’s imprisonment. He found himself sharing a cell with about fifty criminals, and his family was left in turmoil.
At home, mother was not coping well. Neighbors were mocking the children, claiming their father would be jailed for seven more years. “I started noticing that it was hard for my mother to put food on the table,” explained Lakech. “I could not watch my mother battle on her own. I wanted to finish school, but it was impossible for me to just carry on,” admitted the timid young teenager. “My mother needed help.”
Despite her age and innate shyness, Lakech left school and found a full-time job as a house servant some distance from her home town. For long periods of time, Lakech stayed away from home working, sending all her earnings home to her mother. Following her example, Lakech’s second oldest brother, also in his teens, quit school and took over the farming on their small land.
Then the local church began to help support the family, and Open Doors was alerted to the difficult struggle to just feed the family. The ministry was able to come alongside the entire family, helping supply their food, and then paying school fees so Lakech could return home and resume her studies with her brother.
Soon afterwards, to the family’s great joy, father was pardoned because of good behavior and released after serving nearly half of his sentence. He was overjoyed and declared, “I was saying to myself, by the time I finish serving the sentence, I will find my family scattered and needy. But it was different. They lacked nothing and everything was covered.
“I was also thinking no one will be with us,” Lakech’s mother shared. “But we now are in joy. I am happy to be relieved from my worries and above all to have my husband beside me. The Lord has blessed me with these two successes; both my daughter and husband have come home.”
RESPONSE: I will live this day aware that hardships can never separate me from Christ’s love.
PRAYER: Lord we rejoice in Your goodness and in Your provision for every real need.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.