I’d never thought of it this way before, but this passage is basically tying up Paul’s thoughts in verses 15-18. In verses 15-16, Paul reminds us of the kind of relationship we have with God, not one of fear, but one in which we can call God, “Abba, Father.” Then in verses 17-18, he talks about how sometimes we have to suffer in this world. Sometimes we suffer for Christ; other times we suffer because we live in a broken world.
But now in verse 35, he reminds of something that we would do well to remember during times of trouble. He says,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (35-36)
The implied answer to all these questions is of course, “Nothing. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not the troubles and hardships we face in life, not persecution, not natural disasters, nor times of poverty, and not even death.”
He goes even further in verses 38-39.
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.
So not even spiritual powers, the things we worry about now, the things we fret about in the future, nor any powers here on earth can separate you from his love. It doesn’t matter where you are either, whether in the depths of the sea or in outer space itself, his love can reach you. To sum up, nothing at all can keep God’s love from reaching and touching us.
And so Paul says,
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (37)
In other words, ultimately, we will have victory in life because Jesus won the victory at Calvary. He defeated Satan and crushed his plans on the cross. And so though Satan would accuse us and tempt us and try us, we have hope because God loves us. And nothing can separate us from that love.
So let us rest in that love when times are hard. Let us take comfort in it. For his is a love that will not let us go. And no matter what we’re going through, he will bring us through.