“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 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 5:1-5)
I can’t help but think of my own situation, beloved reader. Yes, things are better than last time I talked about this. But my situation is the same – job ending and I am not sure what I will do next for a job. It is not suffering, because I will not be destitute. But it will call forth endurance, and no doubt many of my characteristics (for good or for bad) will come forth. I think what is meant here is “good” character – positive traits and attributes. Because those things, the writer of Romans says, produces hope.
I will admit, freely admit, that I have struggled to understand this progression – from endurance to character and character to hope. How can one trait, I ponder, lead to another? And I have finally come to the simple answer, in the midst of my current struggles . . . . it simply does! I don’t know what the weeks will bring. In fact, as you read this, I am going through my second day of unemployment. And while I am writing this, I have idea what my next job will be. But I do have hope that there will be a “next job” for me. And that I am still within the Lord’s plan for me. If that is character that has resulted in hope, it must have happened while I was sleeping!
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Verses 6 – 11)
After that realization, I just sort of drift through the verse six to eleven, still back at verse four and five, thinking “this hope I have that has not basis or foundation comes from years of simply holding tight to the Lord and living out my faith.”!
Yes, the Lord Jesus died for me, a sinner and that was amazing. And yes, I am saved. And yes, I am reconciled to “God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, to all those things. But character tested and refined leads to hope, the hope that I have that all will be well. Don’t know how, just know that it will be. Selah!