It was a scene to make any vacationer envious. They were on a high bluff overlooking the sun drenched Greek countryside. In the distance was the impossibly blue Mediterranean. A gentle breeze blew ruffling the rough fabric awning that shielded the scribe sitting with nib poised, waiting. Paul paced back and forth and as he spoke the scribe wrote.
“What shall we say then? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? “
Now the scene changes to a house in Rome. Paul paces and speaks as the scribe writes. There are others in the room, listening. There is a Roman soldier at the door but he is faced inward listening with rapt attention
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.
Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes and is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. “
Now the scene shifts to another room. The stones of the walls and floor are rough hewn. There are bars on the windows. The others are gone. There is only the scribe faithfully writing his words. The guard is there but he is turned outward, not listening.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Now the room is smaller, so small there is not enough room for him to lie down, barely enough for him to sit if he wanted to. What little light there is comes from a tiny bared window up near the ceiling. There is no scribe. There are no listeners except the rats who can be heard and felt rather than seen. His eyes are lifted heavenward and they shine with a light that speaks of an inner joy and peace that can’t be extinguished. And even though there is no one to hear he speaks. Barely above a whisper Paul speaks.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.