Every once in a while, I come across a scripture I grapple with.
Rubs me the wrong way.
Especially when that same scripture is applied by sweet and lovely people who think repeating it to you will make everything right. And you try to appreciate their words but in your head you just wish they really knew your battle better.
And trust me, I’m preaching to the choir here, I’ve done it too. Maybe we can start a new initiative? Never quote scripture at someone unless you have the time to really sit down and fellowship with it right into that person’s life and mess?
I know, I’m totally rambling. It’s just that kind of day.
So here’s the scripture that has started this whole rambly blog post.
You know, the one I was so unsettled about.
Until recently, when God once again, had to school me on how to keep reading His Word until I had the full truth waiting for me.
And you’d think I’d know by now, right?
For such a lot of days, I have not appreciated fully Romans 5: 3 and 4.
“We also glory in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
It’s hard to appreciate a scripture that basically tells you to be thrilled with any personal suffering. I know, there’s a lesson about all the character-building and endurance-growing chances it will give us. I get it. I do.
But I didn’t like it.
In fact, just last week, when describing the season of depression and insomnia I was going through to someone, they launched the ol’ Romans 5 grenade at me.
Lord in heaven, give me grace, and grace abundantly.
But it’s because I was missing the vital ingredient to how to fully love this scripture.
If we read only verses 3 and 4, we get a concise list of what comes our way when we appreciate our suffering.
This scripture is not only about what has been given to us, but who has been given to us!
Friends, we’re meant to read through to verse 5, when all of this makes sense.
Suffering, perseverance, character, endurance, hope. These are all pretty hefty things on their own.
But we’re not given them without being given something else.
Or rather Someone else.
The Holy Spirit. The Comforter. The One who is powerful enough to thread it all together and tie it up in God’s love for us.
You may have been given a pile of endurance and character-building mess today. And no amount of “one day you’ll look back and know it was for your own good” is helping you keep it in perspective now.
But that’s not all we get when suffering comes a knockin’. We have been given God’s own representative! The Holy Spirit. And He knows how to mold and shape things in a divine setting, while remaining with us personally. That’s empowering news, sweet friends.We have been given God's own representative! The Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet
Given to us so that we are never alone.
Given so that we persevere with absolute hope.
Given as the holy funnel for God’s love poured out exactly when things are at their worst.
How amazing is that? How much can we really love those words now in Romans! I lift my hands each time I read, to tell Him thank you.
We have something that resides in each of us straight from the Almighty, His gift to us when we accept Him, that is ready and anticipating what’s to come.
The Holy Spirit is not slowed down by suffering. He is not stumped by the hard messes.
He’s God’s proof that He will supply our every need. Appointed by Christ before he left the earth to be what he decreed “The Helper”.
And it’s because of the Helper that we will find a way persevere, that we can find a way to have greater character, that we have a very real hope to hold onto.
I’m thinking His scripture is never the problem.
It’s me. It’s my heart. It’s totally my messed-up and earthly translation of holy promises I forget to pursue in their completeness.
I for one, will be relying more and more on the One we’ve been given.
How about you?