(Photo Courtesy: graphicstock.com)
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…”– Romans 5:3 (NIV)
Life is hard. There is no one on earth that doesn’t experience some sort of hardship or pain. It is an unfortunate reality, but it is what we face as products of the fall.
However, there is a beauty that can be found in our struggle. It may be hard to find, but it is clear when we push beyond the pain; Christ reveals His glory during the push.
I have witnessed so many people who claimed to follow Christ and were walking strong, however once they faced a snag in their life, they seemed to have shifted their view of Who Christ was or is supposed to be in their life.
It seemed as if they held on to the view, “I accepted Christ, so that means I shouldn’t deal with pain. If I should happen upon a struggle, Christ will instantly heal or repair the hardship I face.” This is a flawed view and reveals a disconnect from the reality of the gospel.
We were never promised an easy life. We were never promised to be free from hard times. However, we were promised peace during the struggle.
I wish we would embrace the truth of Christ’s words. He healed people, He walked with the broken, He fed the hungry, He lifted the spirits of the lost, and made promises of making people whole.
However, He also told His followers that the poor will always be with them. He shared that people will turn against them. He explained that people would hate them because they followed Him.
That is a clear message saying “Hard times are already here and there is more to come!”
Yet, we see in Romans a hint of glory. Paul writes “…we also glory in our sufferings…” What does that mean? That doesn’t make sense! How can I glory in my suffering?
The glory is found at the end of this verse “…suffering produces perseverance…”The Church needed to hear these encouraging words.
I think we all need to hear these words. We need to understand that, yes, we will lose money; yes, we will lose loved ones; yes, we will have enemies; yes, we will have relationships fall apart; yes, we will have challenges to our faith and much more.
However, if we push through the pain; if we push through the haters; if we push through the financial struggles; and lean on the peace of our Creator. Then, we will be able to handle the harder times when our religious freedom is challenged, when we risk our lives to stand up for our faith, and when we have to guide others through the process of struggle. This is the beautiful struggle we will go through in order to see be in the glorious presence of our Creator.
Christ never called us to be free from hurt, but to live in His peace. He promises to be with us, but calls us to push on in our walk with Him and trust His message of hope through hardship.
Living through pain brings strength to our faith, as long as we are willing to push through in His glory, which will produce the perseverance we need to live freely in Him.
That’s a beautiful message pushing through the ugly pain we face in life.
QUESTION: When hard times hit, how do you handle it? Is it hard to push through or easy to rest in Christ?