Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand,and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us,because Godâ€™s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Romans 5:1-5 (HCSB)
Summertime along the Gulf Coast means almost daily showers. The Chamber of Commerce likes to call it â€œLiquid Sunshineâ€. I call it pain. For those of us with arthritis, we could be employed as local barometers because we know when the rain is coming! And when it is coming every day â€“ well, it isn’t sunshine that comes to my mind!
And then my mother-in-law sends me these beautiful verses. Oh, they aren’t really poetic but they are a balm, a soothing ointment, to my aches. And Paul isn’t speaking just of physical afflictions. No, he knows well that afflictions are often tormenting to the mind and spirit. â€œWhy is this happening?â€
My friends, brothers and sisters because of Jesus Christ, we who are so weak, took a tiny, stumbling step and said â€œYesâ€ to our need for Jesus’ sacrifice. And so we have peace. In the midst of whatever causes us pain, we have Jesus, our peace.
Not only that but as I look back on the road that I have traveled, I see that I have come through times of great suffering and yet still believe in the Hope that is Jesus. He showed me how to exercise my spiritual muscles and â€“ there is endurance.
I remember driving down Davis Highway, a main thoroughfare in our city, after learning that my son had cancer, a cancer that statistically did not respond well to treatment. I remember crying out to God. And then it was like feeling strong hands lift my head and straighten my shoulders and I raised my tear-filled eyes and I began to explain to the enemy, the accuser, that he had â€œcrossed over the line and all bets were off! I’m coming after you and will proclaim the goodness of my LORD with my last breath! You have made a serious mistake by attacking my child!â€ Oh, I have had many moments of weakness since then but Jesus has always been right there to hold and restore me to fighting form!
It is difficult (that word doesn’t really cover it!) to find the â€œgoodâ€ during a time of affliction. I’ve often said that we need 400 times more encouragers in the Church than we do prophets! My mother-in-law, at the age of 94 years young, encourages my husband and I every evening when she sends us a Scripture. She doesn’t know what is happening in our day to day lives, but she knows her own life and what Jesus has done for her. She grew up with candles for light and a wagon for transportation and now she uses the Internet to send God’s Word across the country to encourage her children. His children. She is a disciple of Jesus Christ.
God’s hope will not disappoint no matter what our circumstance. Let us reach out our hands. Jesus is right there to take our hands and lead us ‘home’. It may not be time for our eternal home but He will lead us to that place of peace where we are strengthened and restored and come closer to Him. That is the best place to be this weekend. Don’t you think?
Precious LORD, Take My Hand by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey & George Nelson Allen, sung by Sherman Andrus