“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
It is not in our human nature to want to suffer. In fact, our society encourages us to avoid hardship at all costs. But what if suffering was part of God's plan for our restoration?
Paul of all people knew what adversity was. From an illness that was always upon him, to beatings, stonings, prison, and even shipwrecks, Paul experienced it all. Yet he knew in his heart that his sufferings were to be rejoiced over.
All of us have experienced various forms of afflictions and suffering: the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, income or home, divorce, sickness. I personally can attest to everything I just listed; however, I wouldn’t change anything about my life. Every form of affliction I have endured — and will endure — has brought me closer to God. These painful experiences have transformed me into who I am today.
Our restoration and hope in is Christ Jesus. Our suffering will restore our hearts, teaching us endurance, which will develop our character to be a reflection of His. This is our restoration in Him: to be one with Him as Christ was One with the Father.
Hear our cries today, Lord. You know our struggles. Help us to face our afflictions with a joyful heart, knowing that in them we will only grow closer to You. May we trust You with everything in our lives, so that You may restore our hearts to be one with You. Amen.
Do you feel overwhelmed by life right now? Ask God to change your mind and attitude about whatever afflictions you face this week. Read Romans 5:3-5 again, and meditate on its promise of restoration and hope.