The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, February 16, 2023, was written by Gretchen Nelson of Florida.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV
EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
After a long, hot summer, my family took a trip to the mountains to hike in cool weather. My son planned our first hike, one that promised an amazing panoramic view at the top. Halfway up the trail, we stopped at a lovely overlook. As we ate our lunch, we enjoyed speaking with hikers who passed us. Many remarked on the beautiful view at the top. After lunch we continued up the trail. But when we were a half mile from the summit, the rain came pouring down. My son suggested we keep climbing through the dense rain. But even if we reach the top, I gently explained, there would be nothing to see. The mountaintop was covered by clouds, and the view was gone.
So we made our way back to our car. Though we did not reach the summit, we agreed that we had experienced an exciting adventure and had enjoyed meeting many travelers. I compare this story to my own faith journey. I always strive to be at the top of the mountain. While I often fall very short of this aim, I have learned that God is always with me, and this inspires me to continue the journey. Despite setbacks, God’s abiding love surrounds us. Even if we don’t always get to the top, God walks with us every step of the way.
Romans 8:38-39 are some of Paul’s most inspiring and encouraging words. While they are customarily read at funerals, they serve as a valuable reminder that God has removed all barriers that sought to separate us from God’s presence. Christ comes, wrapped in flesh and blood, to demonstrate God’s love for us and to offer us all the opportunity to choose relationship with God. Through Christ, God rebuilds the relationship bridge, so that nothing would be able to separate us from the love of God through Christ. May we choose to overcome every trial we face, enveloped by the love of God, and walking with God every step of our lives.
Dear God, help us to remember that wherever our path may take us, you walk beside us and guide us every step of the way. Amen.
- Gretchen Nelson