THAT’S NOT ENOUGH
Tapping out is a signal between two martial artists that a sufficient threshold of pain has been reached to demonstrate a technique is being properly executed. When you’re training with a partner on, for example, wrist locks, and you’ve reached the point where the technique being applied is causing significant pain, you “tap out” by tapping something with your free hand. What you’re saying is, “That’s enough!”
I’ve been training in the martial arts since I was 12 years old and got tired of getting beaten up every day. Full disclosure, I’m not doing all that much training any longer. I guess my last partner tapped out for good.? (To be fair, he did move away to school and then get married.)
God’s love never taps out. His love never ever reaches the point where He says, “That’s it, too much pain!! I’m done.”
Paul explores this in the book of Romans, chapter 8. (If you’ve not read anything in the Bible this week, you owe it to yourself to go read Romans 8. You’re going to love it!!!)
Paul asks an incredible question in verse 35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” He begins to explore the realm of life’s most difficult challenges, taking inventory to see if ANY of them or even ALL of them have what it takes to make God tap out.
This first list is all about people attacking you for your faith. I’m not talking about mean-mouthing and verbal abuse, but REAL attacks. That’s why Paul begins by asking WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ, and then gives us a list of WHATs. It’s because each of these is a weapon in the hands of a person. Tribulation is suffering as a result of persecution. Distress is great anxiety and mental suffering, and in this context it is caused by the tribulation. Persecution made the early church literally run for their lives. This fleeing led to famine, nakedness, danger and even more attacks as they fled.
But Paul says that EVEN THEN the love of God can’t be stopped; nope, not even when the enemy is hunting you down to kill you and take everything you own. Paul even quotes from Psalm 44 and says, “we are being killed ALL DAY LONG.”
As you and I face trials and challenges of many different sorts, most of us will not have to flee our homes because people are trying to kill us because of our faith. But some of us ARE facing that today. In our Communion we have people who live under daily threat of their lives. We know people who lived in these nations and have lost their lives for the faith. We are working with people in nations where the local government and large mobs of people attack, beat with sticks and metal poles, burn property, and more — all because these people are followers of Jesus.
We may think that those things would be enough to separate us from the love of God; but they are not. In the midst of the battles, God strengthens His people and comforts them. God doesn’t tap out.
Actually, in all these things WE are the actual winners. Paul continues, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” You’re never surprised by a boxer in the ring who gets hit. That’s what he trained for. He entered the ring to fight. The greater the battle, the greater the victory. All that matters is who is standing at the end of the bout. The victor owns the victory.
The Roman guards flogging Him were not enough to make the love of Christ tap out. The cross and the grave were not enough to make the love of Christ tap out. They looked like the end, but they were only the beginning!
Every time the enemy throws more pain, more discouragement, more of whatever he can at Christ and the Church, the answer is the same.
THAT’S NOT ENOUGH!
Paul wraps up Romans 8 by declaring, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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.”
Nothing in all creation!!!!
We win. We are the victors as we remain in the love of Christ.
We have the promise of God that, whatever may come and try to separate us from His love, His answer will be the same …..
THAT’S NOT ENOUGH !!!