We went to Brew City Church this morning and Randy taught on Romans 5:1-4:
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
I was, obviously, drawn to verses 3 and 4. The other ones are great too! But 3 and 4 jump out at me given all that is going on.
As he was teaching on them he had such compassion. Such realness. We are going to have suffering in our lives. And often when those times happen we cry out “God, where are You??” I am learning that God is RIGHT HERE. He has not left me. This didn’t surprise Him. He doesn’t run from pain and suffering like we humans do. He is standing in middle of it all, no matter how dark or scummy it is. He is right there. And His arms are open as wide as can be and ready for me to run into them. And He holds me. And loves me. And carries me. And let’s me cry and pound on His chest. And He whispers His words of love and assurance and peace and strength, and….HOPE.
But I have to make the choice to run to Him. And I have to make the choice to obey those words He whispers to me. And I have to make the choice to go to HIM for the strength to take the hard steps and not rely on my own strength.
Because I CAN’T do this! But God CAN. And I CAN if I’m staying close to Him and relying on Him and following Him.
Suffering is not what God wants for us. Suffering happens because of our humanity. Because of our sin. But God loves us SO much that he forgives us and extends us grace. And even though we got ourselves into this mess, He is standing in it with us. And He will be with us EVERY step as we try to get out of it and follow Him.
Does that mean that life will be all perfect and roses then? Absolutely not. There will be more suffering. There will be more difficult times. But, if we believe what God is saying in Romans, we will develop perseverance and character if we keep following God and enduring. And that all leads to HOPE!
It was a good message. There were times I ALMOST stood up to share what God has been doing in me. I wanted to just put an exclamation point on what Randy was saying! I wanted to say “YES! God really does do that! What he’s teaching is true!” But I didn’t. I didn’t want to look crazy. And I didn’t want to blubber out words through tears – ‘cuz that’s what would have happened! And they probably wouldn’t have been able to understand one word. So, it was just better for me to be quiet. And let God reassure me through His Word and this message that what He’s doing right now is real. And to keep going, even when I want to give up. Because endurance through suffering develops character, and that will lead to HOPE!