5Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
This is one of my favourite readings.. The different versions use different language, I followed the NIV for the drawing but much prefer the NRSV (above) for its simple language. I love that we have peace with God through Jesus. Just believing in him is enough to bring us into God’s grace and share in the ultimate of what God has. Not because of anything we can do or say or perform..
My favourite bit is about suffering. When I am struggling with something it can become really overwhelming, to be shown a purpose to this suffering and that there could be something beyond this helps me to hang in there.. In reality this verse has proven very much the case for me over time.. Suffering has led to perseverance or endurance, I can stick with things a lot longer now than I could when I was younger.. Working through these struggles and sticking with them has built my character. I am much more compassionate, I am stronger, I am able to stick with people as they go through hard things, I try to see things from all sides now. In turn this mostly leaves me in a place of hope, because I know that God’s love remains with me no matter what I am going through. I also know that what I am going through will not last forever and with God’s help things will not remain the same..
So for me it is like inside the suffering person, is this person of hope. The picture looks a bit silly rather than hopeful I think, but I wonder how often when we are hopeful in suffering how others think it looks silly too. God’s spirit of love comes to us and is around us all the time. There are 3 arms coming in, being the Holy Spirit, Creative God and Jesus because at different times we need to experience God in different ways in our sufferring, at times it is about the mystery of God, at other times it is through the feeling of the Spirit and again others it is through the thinking and actions we know through Jesus. These work together with us to turn the suffering and difficulties into the treasures we are left with in the end. Mind you it often doesn’t feel like treasure creating at the time!!!
If you are struggling at the moment, I pray that the Spirit of God will fill your heart with love, so that you are able to endure this and that that endurance produces character, until eventually it leads you to a a place of hope as well.