S (Scripture): Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
O (Observation): Suffering is not something we like, yet Paul reminds the church that sufferings are not the end of the story, because we have a peace with God. Paul sees how a person given faith in Jesus Christ can see suffering through the eyes of Christ. Christ’s suffering had a glorious ending. So, Christ’s suffering has a glorious hope and peace for us all, too!
Paul’s own suffering has produced endurance in him, because of Christ being with him. His endurance developed his character, because Christ was shaping him. Paul’s character allowed him to hope, because Christ was with him.
A (Application): I don’t believe that Christ wants us to suffer. I don’t think it is EVER God’s plan for someone to suffer. However, when someone is suffering, I very much believe that God can create an opportunity to translate that suffering into hope, as Paul suggests:
Suffering >> Endurance >> Character >> Hope
God, who gives us peace, can take our situations of suffering, and cause us to pause and think about things. To endure the current suffering, giving us endurance. This endurance will shape our character (as it did Paul’s). And finally, as people of a developed character, we will hope. We will know that suffering is not the end, but rather, a peace in God.
Many people are suffering in spirit these days, as a result of political movements towards the right. And to those who are suffering, I say this: Remember Paul’s words, founded in faith in Jesus Christ…that we have a peace in God.
If you sense that you are suffering, know that this is not the end. That this will be a time of endurance development, character development. And that you will be hopeful, because our salvation rests not in political leaders, but in our Lord Jesus Christ, who has overcome the power of evil.
Use this time to mine for gold down in the pit. God is with you, giving you strength.
P (Prayer): Lord, remind us that we already have a peace in you, made real through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.