If you search for stories of inseparable friends on the internet, much of what you’ll find popping up first are tales of people and a devoted pet, or even accounts of two very different pets who shared a special bond. Sprinkled in among these are the occasional story of two people who were the closest of friends from a young age, but as you read on it becomes evident that the accounts are fictional. There are some “real” stories in the mix, but they’re few and far between.

Until you search for stories of inseparable spouses dying within weeks of each other. Then you get page after page listing accounts of long-married couples who obviously died of broken hearts. It’s not uncommon to hear of one spouse passing away within a couple of months of their soulmate, or even just a few weeks. I’ve actually found one story of a Derry, New Hampshire couple who had been married for 44 years that succumbed to COVID within seconds of one another, holding hands in the intensive care unit of the Parkland Medical Center.

My devotionals are never meant to be a commentary on the latest news stories of the day. Today the battle for Kiev rages in the Ukraine, countries are removing many COVID-related restrictions, Chinese military aircraft are routinely entering Taiwan’s air defense zone, and there’s no shortage of other news stories reporting on pain, suffering, loss and conflict. The actors may change, but the gist of the stories does not. You’ve probably heard it said that “Some things never change.” While that is certainly true, the good news is that not all of those things are negative. The better news is that we have a source of strength available to us as we face the massive challenges of life. The best news is found in today’s verse.


The Holy Spirit didn’t inspire the Apostle Paul to write these verses while Paul was leading some charmed and protected life, free from all conflict and pain. The Church of Jesus Christ lived through its earliest years under the oppressive and violent thumb of Roman dictators, harsh puppet kings, heavy-handed religious leaders and troublesome groups of jealous Jews who regularly rioted against them. Paul himself spent multiple years in Romans prisons, and many of his epistles were penned in the dark of a dungeon.

This morning I read a letter that one of the pastors of the underground church in China had recently written to her 18 year old son. Like Paul, her letter was written from prison. She has served two years of a ten year sentence for having the gall to preach the gospel without authorization from the government, hence undermining the security of the state. In China, pretty much every accusation raised against Christians ends with the phrase “hence undermining the security of the state.” Some things never change.

In her letter, this woman writes to encourage her son that God is faithfully caring for her, ministering grace to her heart. She encourages her son to press in close to Christ, and remain determined to walk faithfully with Him. She speaks about the peace that Jesus has given her, even remarking that she only had trouble sleeping one night while she has been in the Chinese jail. Looking to the future, she reminds her son to keep up his practice of writing in his diary – especially noting key events and accomplishments – so they can read them together when she is finally released. She closes her letter by directing him to focus on the daily grace and provision of God, because His faithfulness is unwavering. Yes, some things never change.


This world is living under the curse of sin, and we see the evidence of it every day. Wars and rumors of more wars. Hunger, disease, illnesses of every sort, pain, lack and loss. It’s frustrating. Even creation itself is frustrated !!! In fact, creation is waiting in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. They are revealed by the determined way in which they walk out their faith, following Him who called them. Even creation itself is waiting to be liberated from its current bondage and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

The illustration Paul gives is that of childbirth. He says the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, even right up to the present time.

Have you ever seen a child being born? It’s not usually an experience that would be described as quiet and peaceful. I’ve never heard my wife yell as loud as she did when giving birth. As the actual time of birth approaches the birth pains become stronger, significantly more intense and painful; and they come much more frequently. The entire process ends up, quite literally, in a bloody mess. (A note to my UK readers, I’m being medically accurate, not using foul language.) In spite of the intense pain, the exhausting work and the blood – it also produces life. That, of course, is actually the main outcome.

Mother’s facing childbirth are often encouraged to look past the pain of the process, which is actually quite short-lived, to the joy of having a new child in the family. No one is saying the pain isn’t real. They are saying its temporary, just a necessary part of the process. Knowing that truth makes it easier to get through the point of pain.

As excruciatingly painful as our present sufferings are, there is a crucial truth to hold onto by faith. They are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Just like a mother in labor knows that the pain will produce a life, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, those who have been called according to His purpose. Labor pains are not an accident, they are a necessary part of the process. The pains we face in life are also a necessary – and temporary – part of the process; the process of becoming everything God intends us to be.

God has predestined His chosen ones to be conformed to the image of his Son. Since He knows all things, He knows who will choose to respond to His offer of eternal life. And those He predestined, He also called; inviting them to accept the Great Exchange, our sin for His righteousness. Those He called, He also justified when they accepted His offer. Justified is a legal term, a pronouncement the one is not guilty.

Those He justified, He also glorified. Note that God sees our glorification in the PAST tense. He who knows the end from the beginning sees the outcome of His call and our faithful response. The afflictions we face – every pain and evil I’ve mentioned, and many, many more I have not – these are light and momentary by comparison. They are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all comparison. We are being conformed to the image of His Son.

What, then, shall we say in response to these words of truth God has given us?

If God is for us, can anyone be against us? Can any weapon raised in our face actually have the final victory?

Who can possibly separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or or some deadly weapon get the upper hand? Even if we face death all day long and well into the night?? The answer is “No !!” A loud and resounding NO !!! A “NO” that is shouted from the mountaintops at the top of our lungs.

No matter what the enemy throws against us, in those very things – WE WIN !! In fact, we are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us.

Paul was 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, would ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Jesus told His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.โ€ The peace of Christ is the key to staying strong. As the old Christian chorus says, “The world didn’t give it to me, and the world can’t take it away.”

We win. We have His peace as we go through the process of being conformed to His image. And we have His peace because we also have His promise —


Some things never change.

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