“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:31-39, The Message)
I’m a fan of the traditional translations of the Bible that closely follow the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts, but every now and then, I like a little bit of The Message to give new insights on old tried and true Scripture passages. Romans 8:31-39 is a good example of something I have probably read hundreds of times to the point where it can almost seem rote. But when you get Eugene Peterson’s unique rendering, it makes the words and ideas seem as fresh and new as the day Paul penned them.
My suggestion is to take these verses and read them over and over until you can say them from memory. Then read them again. Read them until they become embedded in your very being and will come to mind whenever you feel worthless or defeated or just no good. Read them like God is audibly speaking the words to you — over you — with compassion and love in His voice as a Father would speak words of love to his child. Then maybe, just maybe, if we did that we might actually begin to believe and live them out.