Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” There are two pieces of this text that speak to me the most as I wrestle with it today. The first is this truth that I am justified through faith in Jesus. This is a concept that my brain is still trying to teach my heart. That God forgave me and called me to follow Him while I was in sin. There is nothing I could have done to earn it, and no way for me to pay it back. This is so humbling. Nothing in the world works like this.
The second piece challenges me to rejoice in my suffering…that in doing so, I will gain character and hope by demonstrating perseverance. This is so opposite to how I usually face suffering in my life. It is my tendency to pity myself during tough times. I want to do anything to make it stop…and now!! Suffering is something that I ask God to deliver and protect me from. I have a tendency to think that life is a story about ME and that it is God’s job to protect me from anything that hurts. And when he fails to do this, I begin to doubt.
Pastor Delton made a statement in yesterday’s message that “we are in a battle.” This battle is a much bigger story. It is a violent battle over mankind. It’s a battle that results in horrible suffering. This is a story that God has been working out since the beginning of time. If I decide to follow Jesus, I get to be a part of His story ….
This perspective gives suffering new meaning for me. It gives it purpose. It reminds me that I can face adversity with confidence because I know that the Lord is refining me for His purposes and that he will never abandon me.
I hope to put these verses into action this week. There is an ongoing situation at work that is very stressful and at times painful for me. Clearly God is allowing me to remain in this situation because I have tried multiple times and ways to escape it. This week, I hope to trust in Jesus that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that He is using my obedience for his purposes, and I pray that I will endure in a way that honors Him.
What does this passage say to you?