Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Romans 5:5; 8:35, 38–39

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . 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.”


Many years ago, I was with my family on a beautiful sailboat owned and piloted by dear friends. Out in the middle of Lake Ontario on a warm day, my oldest daughter and I decided to get in the calm water as the boat floated quietly beside us. She was thirteen at the time, and we both had on life preservers. We swam right beside the boat, adjusting to the cold water and thinking we might get out sooner than we had thought. 

Then, the wind suddenly grew strong and the water became choppy. Before we could even turn toward the boat, a gust whisked it away rapidly until it was some distance from us. I turned to see that my daughter was still a few feet away from me. Before I could get to her, a large swell began to separate us. 

I could see the fear rising in her eyes. With all my strength and a father’s inner resolve (if you’re a dad, you know exactly what I mean), I was going to get to her no matter what. I swam in a direct line to her as fast as I could as the waves pushed me back. Finally, I reached her. We grasped hands firmly and I drew her close. We turned toward the boat, and I saw my skillful, sailing friend cutting through the wind—pulling up right beside us like a chauffeur for our ride home.

What had threatened to separate us was no match for my resolve and my friend’s skill. In my father’s heart, separation was simply not an option.

In this famous passage on love, Paul is declaring that God’s love will not allow a separation to happen when a heart is reaching toward him. Separation is not an option for Jesus. Our union is at the center of his attention and focus. Yet, facing trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, death, life, angels, demons, present, future, height, depth, can make it seem as though we have been left to ourselves in a cold, hard world.

But Paul has a point to make, a point with which we as modern Christians must come to grips. He is saying that our union with Jesus is an unbreakable bond. When suffering or difficulty comes, as followers of Jesus, we should always assume that God is with us in that suffering.

Let that sink in. I’ll repeat it. When suffering or difficulty comes, we should always assume that God is with us in that suffering. We are in union with him. He loves us. We are inseparable.

Our faith in God’s love for us must be more powerful—more resilient, more unshakeable, more realthan our faith in our circumstances.

St. John of the Cross, writing in his famous Dark Night of the Soul, suggested that suffering will come to us, and we will be changed when it does. As suffering comes, he believed it could deliver us from old habits of the heart into a deeper experience of union with God in Christ.

Just as I did with my daughter that day on the lake, Jesus closes gaps that threaten to separate us. He does so by the power of his love for us. The reality of suffering does not mean Jesus does not love you. Suffering means that you have another opportunity to turn toward him, to depend on him, and to learn what true love is all about. 

His love will always come after you.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I often interpret gaps in my sense of feeling blessed or cared for as gaps in your love for me. Deliver me from believing that suffering is an indication of your disappointment; help me to see that suffering can be a path to deeper intimacy with you. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Have you interpreted suffering or difficulty as a lack of God’s affection or attention in your life? What would happen if you began to see suffering as an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. This particular Wake-up call is a response to a prayer that I inquired from God this morning. I make no claim about being a prophet, but for some time now, it’s becoming more clear to me that the various varieties of the traditional, institutional forms of church are going to have to radically change, or else cease to exist do to the death of Christendom. This morning’s texts and lessons are a reminder that for true disciples, suffering for the sake of Christ is inevitable. How we as the corporate body of Christ handle suffering will determine the outcome. We can either double down on trying to prop up a man-made, culturally privileged structure, or come to accept that our only way to thrive is a return to a much simpler, Spirit empowered, Spirit led, Jesus movement. The choice is ours, we must choose wisely.

  2. Being in Christ, and Him in us. Can we view a time of suffering with an “Ah,” what’s the Lord showing me in this, instead of an “Ouch,” why me, and when will it stop?
    My youngest brother is on his last leg, battling cancer. His wife is struggling to keep him home or to admit him to the hospital per Hospice advice. She is worn and tired as he refuses to eat or take the medication to combat ammonia buildup in his system. He is chaoticly confused and is fighting her every step of the way.
    Though her earthly energy is depleting, her spirit stays strong: “Jesus is the only way I am still sane.” Abiding in Him and Him in us is the only way we can live in His grace while a thorn is in our flesh.

    God didn’t pick David up and place him on the other side of the valley. He walked with Him. When we focus on Christ, with us and within us, and not the waves of life, we can say, “Ah.”
    My daughter-in-law’s name is Pam Downey. Tina is the daughter.
    Please pray,
    Thank you.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, stay strong IN the Lord and IN His mighty power.

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