Beyond the Gospels: Romans 5

To read the Scripture for this devotional, click here: Romans 5

Every person in the world will go through suffering at some point in his/her life. It could be the physical suffering of illness or disease, emotional suffering of broken relationships or mental illness, or even spiritual suffering. Regardless of social status or the amount of money a person has, everyone will suffer at some point.
Even Jesus tells his followers, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33a NIV)
We all will have tough times, but it is our attitude about those tough times that can set Christians apart from others. Suffering isn’t an end to itself, but can be the beginning of hope.
Paul writes in Romans 5:3b-5, “…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.”
In chemistry specific elements combine to make a substance that the elements cannot make on their own. Sodium, for example, is poisonous if consumed by humans. Chlorine likewise is poisonous to humans. But when the two combine they produce salt, which the human body cannot live without.
If a person suffers, such suffering produces something else: endurance. And then endurance produces character. The process continues with character producing hope. And hope is the assurance that the suffering won’t last forever, that things will be better in the future.
Even in John, when Jesus says “In this world, you will have trouble,” he follows it with “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
When bad times seem to drag down our emotions, when suffering visits our lives, let us find comfort in knowing that through our faith in Jesus we will have hope.
Heavenly Father, none of us want to suffer. But when we do suffer let us look to Jesus Christ with confidence, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and that character produces hope. Help us to always have that hope. Amen.

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