Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God : Lauren Hom
Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure 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.
Growing up, I always knew I was different. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere and I struggled with a constant state of loneliness for my entire life. When I was in high school, I fell into depression. I struggled with social anxiety, and I was constantly reminded by my peers of how weird and awkward I was. My reputation in high school developed into the “awkward, dumb girl." My confidence was shattered and I felt extremely alone. I was afraid to talk to people and be myself because of the constant state of rejection I faced.
When I entered college, the feelings of loneliness and emptiness followed me. I went to a commuter school and spent most of my time working. I graduated with one or two acquaintances, but no one I felt like I could call a true friend. I felt unworthy and unloved. I started developing suicidal thoughts ever since high school, but these thoughts intensified during my years in college until now. I spent all my time thinking about death from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. I started having nightmares about it. I couldn’t see or think properly because my head was so clouded by these thoughts, and I truly saw it as the only option to end the pain. I started distancing myself from my mom because I didn't want to hurt her when I thought it would happen. Everything around me reminded me of death and I often thought about hanging myself.
My heart grew bitter and weary, and I turned to drugs and alcohol to escape from my problems. I felt instant relief every time, but once these things wore off I was left feeling emptier and alone. Material possessions, drugs, alcohol, money, switching jobs; these pursuits would not satisfy me for any length of time. They always left me coming up short. Nothing could make me feel complete.
I feared I was losing my mind. Insomnia was ruining my life and my job performance. I couldn't handle the painful loneliness, suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. I felt a huge hole in my heart and I didn’t know how to fill that void. Being alone was intolerable for me at this point and the anguish (mental pain and fear) was severe. I felt extremely guilty having these thoughts, knowing other people around the world were in much worse situations. Two summers ago, I realized that I needed help. These were my darkest days, and I questioned the meaning of life. I decided to go to church because I felt like there were no answers to my life, and as a resort maybe religion would provide some answers to my existence and meaning, and answer my uncertainties about the afterlife. I never thought I would start going to church, but after hearing sermon after sermon, I started to believe that God is real amid all the pain I felt. When I would hear worship songs I would always break down and cry because I would feel a presence that would pierce through my heart, which I know is God.
Before I knew God, I was so lost. To be honest, I still feel lost, but now I have hope. Hope in knowing He is always with me and hope for redemption. Although I often question if God actually loves or cares for me, I know that my experiences have happened for a reason. If I had not gone through them then I would never have looked for answers and discovered God, who was the only person I can rely on when I had no one else.
It took me a while to realize and accept that God allows hardships to teach us mysteries of His grace, and teach us to rely on Him in ways we wouldn't otherwise. I can't say that I am fully healed but I have hope in looking to the things that are unseen, rather than what is here on earth. I hope that through my testimony I can help encourage those who feel alone, and let them know that there is hope in God, even when all seems lost. I may never get the answers from God as to why certain things have happened, but I have one true fact instilled in my heart that cannot be broken: Nothing can separate me from the love of God.
For your reflection
God can truly bring healing amid your pain. No matter how alone or worthless you may feel, there is hope in knowing that He is always with us and nothing can break the love that He has for us. Although it may be frustrating to undergo struggles, everything that happens is due to God's plan and purpose, whether we are able to see it or not. We may be left with unanswered questions and feel helpless and abandoned, but it is crucial in these moments to cling on to God even more and to not lose hope.