Christian Healthcare Centers Devotionals

Finding Hope in the Midst of Struggle

Suffering and Hope

In the book of Romans, Paul mentions rejoicing in our sufferings because suffering builds character, hope and relationship with the Lord.  

2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)

For those in the midst of suffering, these verses prove to be hard teaching.   How are we supposed to rejoice in the midst of serious and painful suffering?  Why can’t God just make this end?  Why can’t I just be at peace?

First, we need to be reminded that joy comes from God and not from circumstances.   In Romans 4, James, Psalms and others – we are to rejoice in the Lord.   We rejoice that God is sovereign over all things – He is in control and nothing is beyond His knowledge.   We rejoice that God both loves and provides what He knows is best for us and for the sake of His name.  We rejoice in the peace and rest that come from the knowledge that through Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven and can enjoy a right relationship with God.  Joy, Hope, and Peace all come from relationship with God, they do not come from circumstances

Second, as followers of Christ, we are called to suffering.   Philippians 1:29 states that “it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him, but also suffer for his sake.”  We should not be surprised to encounter suffering and hardship.   We have been called to it! (I Peter 2:21)  Even Jesus, God’s only Son who is perfect in every way, suffered.

Third, we do not have to endure alone.   God is always with us.  But, He has also called us to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).  As the church of Jesus Christ, we are called to encourage one another, pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens.  We are to work together as one unified body for the benefit of the whole and for the glory of God.  This means that we are called to actively be involved and minister in the lives of others AND allow others to be involved and actively minister to you.

Last,  Romans 8:35 reminds us that no one can separate us from the love of Christ.   Not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword.   God loves with a perfect love.   God is faithful in every way.   He will vindicate His name, His people and promises to bless those who suffer for righteousness’ sake.  (I Peter 3)

 

Endurance, Character, Hope

As we align ourselves with God and His holy character, we build character and endurance, we rely on our Heavenly Father to provide for us in time of need, we walk in gratitude for God’s mercy and provision and focus on the hope we have in Christ Jesus.   Why?   That God will be glorified.   That we will be salt and light to those who have no hope.  That our lives will be a sacrifice that is a daily act of worship and praise to the only One worthy.

Focus on the Lord

Are you looking to God or missing the mark?  Check out this article to read more!

https://utmost.org/am-i-looking-to-god/

 

Today’s Verse:

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

 

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