Lent FLOW March 16


March 16, 2018

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 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 5:3-5

When hardships, struggles, difficulties and suffering comes our way in life, the last thing we feel like doing is rejoicing. So why are we told to do so? Because tribulation is the very catalyst God uses to bring about patience, experience and hope.

“Lord, I want to be an object of beauty,” we say. “All right,” He says, and in come the winds of adversity, not to blow us out, but to make us beautiful; not to sink us, but to strengthen us. The cold winds of adversity, the hot winds of tribulation cause us to sink our root systems deeper in the soil of Scripture, to ground and root us in faith. That’s why Paul says we are not to just tolerate difficulties, but to rejoice in them.

I can look back at the difficult seasons of my life and see how those seasons are the very ones that forged my faith, solidified my relationship with Jesus, and shaped my character. Growth happens in struggle, maturity is developed in hardship, and hope in the Lord is what we hold onto in the midst of it. I love the description of hope as being the absolute expectation of coming good.

If you find yourself in the midst of a difficult season, be encouraged, God is at work. He is working to shape you, build you up and strengthen you so you become the vessel He created you to be.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." And verse 5 above reminds us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through His Holy Spirit. We can rest in the fact that, because the Lord loves us immeasurably, we can trust Him through seasons of struggle knowing they are for our good. May we find both true joy and strength in the name of Jesus.
Laura Bodine