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  • Writer's pictureShaun Nestor

Nothing Can Separate Us From God

Students on a college campus

It’s a Tuesday night on a college campus. All across campus, students are wrapping up their evening classes or meetings, trekking across campus to dining halls or the residence halls. Some rush to the parking garage to get their car and get off campus after a long day. Still, others have already begun to unwind for the evening, whether it be by shooting hoops at the basketball court, watching a favorite movie or show with friends in one of their dorm rooms, or, of course, by diving into the never-ending pile of homework that many on campus are just trying their best to forget they have to deal with.

In the heart of campus, however, a different scene was taking place. Inside the interfaith chapel, in a small room made for individual prayer and meditation, a group of students gathered. From freshman to senior, male to female, local or international, this group shared very little in common with each other. They weren’t the same major nor did their overall interests or personalities mesh yet they all gathered regardless for one specific reason: to worship.

In this small meditation room, approximately 10 ft. by 10 ft. in dimensions, the campus ministry I was involved with would have a weekly worship night. Come just as you are and spend time praising God in song and praying for one another. There would be about 15-20 of us on any given week, sitting on the hardwood floor as a couple people would play on guitar and cajón to lead us into worship.

One night, at the end of one song, our worship leader began singing spontaneously “There’s nothing that takes me away from you.” As he continued repeating the phrase, the rest of the room began to join in, all singing the spontaneous lyric in unison before diving back into the chorus of the song we had just finished.

There is nothing that can separate us from God. It’s one thing to sing that out in a small room, it’s a whole other thing to believe in our hearts. Jesus made sure to let his apostles know that. If you read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, the very last thing Matthew records him saying is what we call the Great Commission, which ended with this:

 “And be sure of this I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20b NLT

Then, at the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus gives this final remark to his apostles before ascending into heaven:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8 NLT

Jesus promises to always be with us. Specifically, His Holy Spirit is always with us, working within us. But it can be hard to feel like He is with us sometimes. Whether it be a health issue, family crisis, job difficulties, relationship turmoil, death, persecution, or some combo platter, it can be easy to feel like God is not with you. That he doesn’t see you.

Hagar certainly felt that way. Sarai’s servant in Genesis, Hagar had a son with Abram when Sarai could not conceive. Now pregnant, Hagar found herself being mistreated by Sarai, so she tried to flee, feeling abandoned. But then an angel appeared and told her to return, giving her an image of what the future would hold for her.

So Hagar got up and gave a name to the Lord: El Roi - the God who sees me. Years later, when a little boy was born in a barn in Bethlehem, he was given the name Immanuel - God with us. 

God is with us. He sees us. His Spirit lives within us. There isn’t a single thing in this world that can separate us from Him. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection secured that promise for us if we only believe.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.

Romans 8:37-39 NIV

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