Reading: Romans 5: 2b-5
Paul calls for us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. For the believer, it is easy, almost natural, to hope in God’s glory. His glory was revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, who rose to eternal life and calls on His followers to walk in His ways so that one day we too can do the same. This glory is something we can find hope in!
Paul also goes on, in the very next verse, to call us to rejoice in our sufferings. Why, oh why, would we be happy in our sufferings? It is in the place of suffering that we can truly experience God’s power and presence. In those times of high stress, emotional overload, heavy grief, and other sufferings that we best realize our need for the hope that He brings. In these times we come to see that when we cannot, He can. In our own sufferings and in the sufferings of the world, the hope of His glory can be all we have at times. When we cling to this, we can rejoice in this hope.
It is through our experiences and the living out of our faith that we experience hope in our sufferings. It is not, however, a direct line between the two. Paul traces the path for us. First, suffering produces perseverance. Through remaining faithful to His promises, we learn to persevere in the face of trials. We know the end game. Second, perseverance builds character. In the trial, we are refined. Who and what we are is developed and cones to shine out. It is the peace that passes understanding. And lastly, character leads to hope. Who we are as a Christian is shaped on our journey. As we come through the trials and we realize that not only is God still there, but that He carried us through, we come to know His love in a deeper way. Our hope and faith in Him grows. As He pours out His love into us, may we rejoice in all that life brings!