Peace and Hope
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.5 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.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
For the person who does not know Christ, trouble may produce nothing but misery. Where does a person turn when they have no faith in a God bigger than themselves and their problems? Hopefully, friends will provide comfort and help, but if there is real crisis or deep pain, human words may carry very little power. It is the sitting with, the being present and the walking through difficulty that makes a difference. For me, it is God who is my constant companion and comforter. People act on God’s behalf, but when I am deep in the muck and mire, it is God who I crave. I understand Paul’s words in this scripture. I have seen in my own life how “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Those who know Jesus may boast in suffering, and feel confident that God will use our suffering for good. Paul is expressing a supernatural process that would not arise naturally from trouble. God intervenes on our behalf, and we may have confidence, faith, trust in the God that is bigger than our pain. This is one more reason for us to share our faith, our experience of Christ, with those who do not yet know Jesus. And often, when people are in pain, they long for something more. Don’t use someone else’s pain for your gain, or for Christ’s gain for that matter, but you can use those opportunities to share the love, grace and mercy you have found in Christ. And in doing so, everyone gains. Pray for those who are suffering to find hope in Jesus Christ.
God, In this messy world around us, there is pain and suffering. We thank you that you are with us, even when we hurt. Help us become a beacon of light and love to those around us. Teach us how to share your love when people need it the most. Make us instruments of your peace and grace. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.