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The Secret of Suffering

January 29, 2010

Romans 5:1-4

“1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

THEREFORE . . . it’s such an important word.  It indicates reason for something, it tells us the how the results come to be.  In this powerful passage of scripture, the secret of suffering is unveiled.  Suffering without the “therefore” can be hopeless and fruitless.  The key is “since we have been justified by faith”.  Because of that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  That peace gives us access to God’s grace to stand through faith.  So our rejoicing is rooted not in good circumstances but in the hope of God’s glory.  We have a whole new perspective, a new nature, and a relationship with God of all the universe.  In this new condition we find our selves by grace through faith in Jesus, suffering takes on a new role, it has new results.  Because of Christ, when we suffer, we can persevere and through that we gain character.  That character produces hope in our lives.  And our hope won’t disappoint us because our hope is Christ who loves us as His own and has empowered us with the Holy Spirit.

The key, the secret of suffering, is Christ.  If we are His, and He is the one who suffered more than anyone and conquered it all, then we can persevere in Him.  Your circumstances may be more than you can bear, but your true hope does not reside in the resolution of your circumstances.  Your hope is in Jesus Christ who lives in you and is with you even in the midst of your suffering.  It’s not about not suffering, it’s about  suffering well.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  He has overcome the world and so shall we by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!

Craig Wood, who physically suffered more than anyone I’ve known,  said this:

“My greatest suffering in this life is not the fear of death, but having to wait to see my savior”

O’ Lord teach us Your ways!  Help us to live with eternal perspective.

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