Hope Through Suffering

I’m still here. And yes, I’m still a Christian and an unashamed 5-pointer. And I apologize in advance for the somewhat self-indulgent nature of my return to blogging. But life has been tough on me and my family over the last couple of years. So what shall we make of the ills that have befallen us, and which we have still not seen the end of? Why is it that God, the all-powerful, all-loving God, saw fit to let all these bad things happen? Why should I still believe in this God?

I find strength in His Word, and it tells us about a few things:

Rom 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:2  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:3  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Rom 5:4  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

The first thing we read here is about the peace we find as saved Christians. And I will admit that it holds true. While going through the recent tribulations, I have never had spiritual unrest. While there was, and is, plenty of anxiety and stress, and some negative emotions, my soul has been (somewhat strangely), pretty quiet and at peace with God.

We next read about the access to the faith, through the grace freely given to us, as well as the hope within us. At my dad’s funeral, I spoke only about hope, the kind of dignified hope that only true faith can bring. That hope cannot exist without faith, and faith not without grace, that selfsame grace freely and lovingly given by our Father. Without grace, there is no faith or hope.

Paul then goes on to speak about suffering, the pertinent part for me at this moment. Life is hard right now, and it sure as heck feels like suffering. But God, speaking through Paul here, doesn’t promise no suffering. In fact, He tells us here that suffering is an important part of building character, and that character is the other component of hope. Just like there cannot be hope with grace and faith, there cannot be hope without character…that type of character that is forged in the hardest of times, and produces an enduring, continuous hope.

In short, God tells us to endure through the suffering, because through His grace springs hope eternal, the hope that separates Christians from non-Christians.

Today, on the second anniversary of my fathers death, I know, as I did two years ago, that he held fast to that hope, and so shall I.

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