Babies feel separation anxiety when mommy puts them down. You feel it when your best friend chooses to go around with someone else. Adults feel separation anxiety about losing their jobs, their respect, their honor, or their kids. Separation anxiety is why we fear death or deep water or moving out of town.
The apostle Paul knew about separation anxiety. More than once he stared death in the face. Once he had to escape over a wall by climbing into a basket. Imagine a wiry little man with bad eyes, stuffed into a basket!
Another time Paul was beaten along with his friend Silas. They were then jailed, their feet in stocks. But instead of crying or being intimidated, they praised God—at midnight, sitting on the cold floor, legs straight out.
Late in his life Paul was worried about the believers in Rome and us in the future whose courage is to be tested by suffering and scorn. Paul knew that separation anxiety can destroy one’s courage and that God’s grace offers a cure.
Paul suffered separation anxiety for many reasons. He was separated from the powerful Pharisees when he became a Christian. He continually had to say goodbye to friends when long missionary journeys kept him moving and lonely, and he never forgot how it felt.
So in his long letter to the Roman Christians Paul shared God’s cure for separation anxiety. We find it in Romans 8:28-39. The cure has three points: (1) God works things out for our good (verse 28); (2) God is on our side (verse 31); and (3) nothing can separate us from His love (verses 38, 39).
The Pharisees (Paul was a Pharisee, remember!) thought of God as the heavenly scorekeeper. Such as: You walk too far on Sabbath, and kaboom! another mark to keep you out of heaven. But God is not like that. “God is for us.” He is on our side. He is doing all He can to get us there. God is seeking us out before we even know it.
After we choose God, He continues working on our behalf. Where is God when bad things happen? He is there working things out for us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (verse 28). So don’t give in to an anxiety attack when you wake up with all the world against you. God is looking out for you and me. He is working for our highest good.
What if you still worry? What if your parent is dying or leaving home? What if you want to go to heaven but you don’t know if you will make it? How can God’s hope-filled message help you when you are having separation anxiety? Listen to the apostle Paul’s words now:
“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” (verses 38, 39).
If God is on our side and He is working things out for our good, should you have any reason to worry? God’s love is the perfect solution for your separation anxiety. Remember: NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM JESUS’ LOVE FOR YOU!