Last week, I did a short study on faith. This week, I want to touch on something I was reminded of this past Sunday at church.
This past week ended with a tragedy for a friend’s family, and we were overcome with the “WHY?” question. At this point, I realize now that I will never really know why. I don’t really need to know why. If I did, I would already know why. But I put my trust in one thing…that God knows why and it happened for a reason. That’s all I need to know. Many of my friends and I have been encouraging each other this weekend and the start of this new week. Something my pastor said this weekend really hit home with me. Hope. Here’s the verses we studied this weekend.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Now, when I wasn’t a Christian yet, I suffered a very painful time when I was young. My grandfather died, and I didn’t understand why. All I knew was that he was gone. After his funeral, my family had a party (At least to my teenage mind, it was a party) Why were we celebrating? Hello! Did you not remember that Granddad died? Why are you all laughing and joking? What is so funny about it? I was hurting really bad. My grandma was celebrating because my granddad had come to know Christ before he died. Granddad cheated death so many times already, and Grandma knew it was because God wasn’t done with him yet. So she was celebrating that she would see her husband in Heaven when she died. But I didn’t understand that fully until I became a Christian myself and I felt my Father’s hand on my shoulder comforting me. See, God wants us to thank him in times of happiness. He wants us to be grateful when we get a prayer answered. But he wants us to know that he is there when we are suffering, too. Even though we are suffering, God isn’t through with us yet. Through our pain, through our suffering, the Master craftsman is molding us and shaping us for something new. The things we suffer make us stronger. In it’s verb form, Dictionary.com gives this definition for persevere: “to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.” That’s exactly what God wants us to do….keep on keepin’ on, even in the worst situations. Keep your eyes on the prize, keep striving toward the goal. Perseverance builds character. Integrity. Our traits that form our individual nature as children of God. and character builds hope. I love this next part. And hope does not disappoint us. AMEN! Our hope is in the Lord. He always has our best interest at heart. We have a hope for the future. Our future is with our Lord in heaven, going about the business that he has planned for us. Our future IS NOT eternal separation from our loving God. I look forward to the day that God decides that my time on this earth has ended and my time with Him begins eternally. (that is when God decides it is my time) My hope looks to that future and my hope will never fail me. God loves me so much that he sent his Son to die for me. There is my hope. I have a Savior who loves me and would give anything to have me with him forever. That, dear ones, is a promise that will never be broken.
So yes, we will go through times of sorrow. We will go through times of pain. We will go through times that we just hurt so badly. These words from God tell us to praise him in this storm. God holds us all in his hands, and there are no other hands that can hold me so tightly and never let go of me. God is not through with you, dear one. When Noah looked out on all the rain that fell and flooded the earth, did he give up hope? Just because he couldn’t see it through the rain didn’t mean that the rainbow wasn’t there. God’s word is true forever and ever, AMEN! God’s promises will never come back with a return to sender stamp on them. So thank God and praise Him when you are at your lowest. Take his hand. There is nowhere to go but up.