In my distress

Psalm 118--5-6

In Psalm 118:5-6 (NLT) we find the Verse of the Day for January 11, 2016:

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

The Verse of the Day opens with reference to “in my distress” and ends with a question “What can mere people do to me?” This passage brings to mind the closing verses of Romans 8 where we find a reference to “distress” in a series of sobering questions found in my favorite chapter in the Bible:

Romans 8:31-36:

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”

The passage culminates with a powerful response that thunders with the answer to the barrage of questions:

Romans 8:37

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

The response is definite and emphatic: absolutely not! No way, Jose! No!, [Expletive deleted—No!] Paul goes on to close out this section to remind believers of who we are and whose we are:

Romans 8:38-39

38 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. 39 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 8:37-39 is used as part of the introduction to the blues poem “Final Victory,” written after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. The work expresses the ultimate triumph over the last enemy when we shall experience the reality of the

Final Victory

I Corinthians 15:53-57 & Romans 8:37-39

Old man crab is mighty sneaky,
always creepin and up to no good,
Old man crab, is mighty sneaky,
always creepin and up to no good,
That low-down dirty rascal,
Messin with folk all round the neighborhood.

One dark day old man crab came callin,
Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,
One dark day old man crab came callin,
Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,
That nasty dirty devil,
Sneakin in the back door of my sister’s house.

First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,
You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,
First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,
You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,
But she didn’t want no she-crab soup,
You tried to serve with pain and bitter tears.

You may have come to our house, old man crab,
But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.
You may have come to our house, old man crab,
But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.
Whatsonever in the world you may do,
Every day we still gonna watch, fight, and pray.

Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,
Or nothin high up in heaven above,
Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,
Or nothin high up in heaven above,
Not even death, your creepin partner,
Can ever separate us from God’s love.

So git out my face, old man crab,
I got your number, don’t you see.
So git out my face, old man crab,
I got your number, don’t you see.
You may win this little biddy battle,
But we show-nuff got the final victory.

Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;
Some say in the midnight hour or high noon.
Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;
Some say in the midnight hour or high noon.
I got a feelin He’s comin back
To gather us together soon . . . and very soon.

The last line of the poem comes from a popular gospel song written by the late Andrae Crouch, renowned songwriter and singer: “Soon and Very Soon.”

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