“And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)
Life is hard. True, no one ever told me life was going to be easy, but I do not remember them saying it would be this hard! Why does it have to be so hard?
There was a time in my life when I expressed those exact sentiments. Today, not so much. On most days, I feel more like Paul did as he wrote to the Romans, sharing his experiences and hopes with them. No one enjoys going through difficult times, but Paul understood that through suffering he had received, and would continue to receive, gifts of strength and integrity that would last a lifetime. He understood – from experience and from faith – that through life’s difficulties, he had been drawn closer to God and therefore loved with a love no other could provide. He looked toward the future believing God would never disappoint him and he wanted others to benefit from that same belief.
On the days when I don’t feel like suffering or enduring or building my character, I pray to recognize that disconnect within and reach out for help. Whether I talk to God about it, call a friend, or write poems until I’ve cried myself out, doesn’t matter. What matters is that I don’t marinate in the discomfort alone. Alone, suffering is just suffering. Alone, there is no endurance or character building in suffering, only sadness and distress. Alone, I have no hope.
Endurance, character, and hope are waiting to be poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit. Am I willing to trust God’s plan even while suffering? Will I struggle through my suffering alone, or ask for help from others to open my heart to His blessings?
Jessica, you are called by God to be a writer! He is blessing you mightily. And he doesn’t give such wisdom to people who can’t pass it on. (that last from Carl.)
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Wow I so needed that today. I woke up cranky and I KNEW it. I called someone that I knew would have a GOD story to share. I need to get out of my head and into God’s will!! Thank you. I have started my day over and I am grateful to begin it with you!