Peace, Joy and Suffering?
You, Lord God, are sovereign over all my comings and goings. Do a new thing in me today, I pray.
Read Romans 5:1-11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“These verses affirm the amazing truth that God’s undeserved love has through Christ transformed people from being God’s enemies into being at peace with him, being his friends” (C. E. B. Cranfield). Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Reconciliation between humans is fraught with problems. Family, neighborhood, work or church relationships are easily fractured, but highly complex to mend. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has had some success in reconciliation between groups. How much greater is the task of bringing reconciliation between God and the world. Human sin violates our relationship with our Maker, but God made restoration possible through the death of Jesus, his Son. No one else had the power to restore the relationship to one of intimacy and peace. Once, we were enemies who deserved his wrath, but through faith in Jesus we are no longer condemned. Through him we enjoy a position of high favor with God. Jesus introduces us into the glorious presence of the God of grace. That certainly is cause for rejoicing, and confirms our hope in him. We are not disappointed because God’s Spirit within us pours out his love. What more could we want?
Who wants suffering or hardship? The idea is anathema to most. Paul says we are to rejoice in our sufferings, because they are the normal experience of the Christian life (2 Thess. 1:4,5). When we face trials appropriately (not just with Stoic endurance), we learn lessons accessible in no other way. God achieved reconciliation for his anguished world by Christ’s suffering. In facing troubles with perseverance we choose to make the most of them, not to be defeated, but to conquer. Perseverance through trials brings greater depth of godly character. Like precious metal refined by fire, suffering brings the genuine to the fore and purges impurities. Our faith will only mature as we progress beyond the superficial, protective attitude of fear and avoidance of suffering, and embrace a full life whose hope is in God and his glory alone.
Are you one of those whose fear of suffering hinders their growth in grace? God’s power in achieving reconciliation for all humanity is available to work in you. Claim it.
Loving Father, as I look back over the years, I see how suffering has produced growth in me. Help me to wait upon You in difficult times and renew my strength.
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