Name: Justin Stoffa
Occupation: Youth Ministry Leader
Favorite Verse: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Why this verse is important to Justin:
Have you ever felt distance between you and someone else? I feel that way sometimes when I look up and see an airplane flying overhead. Some planes are not always easy to spot right away. In fact, a lot of times you can only see the little white trail as it floats behind. Looking up, I try to imagine all the people crowded into that tiny little speck way up in the air. I wonder how many people are up there. Where’s everybody going? Hopefully somewhere fun, maybe somewhere warm? Are they headed out for vacation, or just returning home? Has it been a good day? I wonder what I’ll be doing when they land a couple hours from now. The distance between me and them makes it hard to know for sure.
On the flip side, whenever I’m flying, I like to look out my tiny little window and watch as the world below slowly passes by. Who are all those people down there? Are any of them staring back at me? I wonder where everybody’s headed. Are they driving home? Maybe off to work? Have they lived in this area their whole life? What’s their day been like? Do they go to church? Have they heard the good news? Do they know how much God loves them? Do they believe in Jesus Christ? All sorts of questions cross my mind, but once again, the distance between me and them makes it difficult to know for sure. Even so, I find myself trying to imagine their stories.
It’s funny, have you ever stopped to actually think about how many people you don’t even know? I’ll be honest, out of 7 billion people on the planet; I only know a few thousand (at best). It’s not because I don’t want to know more people, in fact I love meeting new people and I love hearing their stories. I think distance is our problem. Most people are just too far away. However, Romans 8:38-39 says God is not limited by distance. He’s not bound by time either. He knows each and every single person who has ever lived, and all the people who are still yet to come. He knows every hair on each person’s head. In fact, He knows you.
He knows what you ate for breakfast, or if you skipped it altogether. He knows what you get excited about, and the things that wear you down. He knows what breaks your heart and what brings you joy. He knows what makes you laugh and what makes you cry. He knows every detail of your life. He knows where you’re going and he knows where you’ve been. He knows every secret, every mistake, the regrets, every lie, he knows it all. There is nowhere you can hide, and there is no distance that can separate you from his presence.
Most importantly though, there is nothing that can ever separate you from his love. There is nothing in your past, nothing in your future, and for sure nothing going on in your life today that could ever make Him love you any more or any less. He loves you unconditionally, and he wants you to know it! That’s why he sent his son into this world. It was Jesus who laid down His life so that we could truly live. He died on a cross, but he also rose from the dead! And someday, we too will die; but we will also rise! You see, not even death can separate us from God’s love. There is no height that is too high, and no depth that is too low. So whether you spend your days looking up or looking down, in the air or on the ground, remember this; God is always with you!