Some of you are suffering today. Really suffering. Cancer. A failed marriage. No income. An addiction. Suffering on an extreme level – perhaps you find yourself in a dark place where you feel no hope.
God placed this verse in my heart this morning – perhaps some of you need a gentle reminder of the end result of suffering: “…but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
We will all suffer here on this earth. But as we discussed in my small group yesterday suffering can either make you bitter or it can make you better.
After you go through one of life’s big storms don’t you want to be able to look back on that time in your life and thank God for the blessings along the way instead of blaming Him – or other people for the mess you were in? Don’t you want to pry open your hands which are tightly holding on to your past mistakes and instead open them up for the blessings in the future God wants to give you? How do you do that?
Only through Jesus. Only through a deep understanding and acceptance of what His blood on that cross means in your life. Without it you will not be better – you will be bitter. Trust me – been there, done that, got the girl scout badge for it.
And when you make it to the other side of suffering you will look back and realize you persevered through the hard times. And that perseverance will build a spiritual character in you that others will see and want to imitate. And that character leads to an undeniable hope in Jesus and in eternity.
And on this earth isn’t that really what we need? Hope in something better, longer lasting – eternal?
My hope for you today is you get so close to Jesus you can feel Him holding your hand through the storms of life. For when you feel His presence all around you, supporting you, propping you up when you don’t have the strength to go on, the hope that Jesus gives will carry you through your darkest days. Your hope in Jesus will sustain you, for you will know and believe something better is waiting for you on the other side of suffering – hope.
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