Last week as I read from The Story Bible, I read from Romans 5:3-5:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
It’s funny how reading a verse in a slightly different version can have a big impact sometimes. In the NIV version it uses the word “rejoice” – this is what I memorized years ago. So, as I read last week, “but we also glory in our sufferings,” I took pause.
As I thought, I can honestly say that I don’t know that I have ever “gloried” in my suffering. Oh, many times I have looked back in hindsight and seen how that suffering made me stronger and I have then given God the glory. And, even while going through the suffering, I wasn’t resentful to God. However, to say that I “gloried in my suffering” would definitely be a stretch.
In the context of our call to be a healing presence this year we are going to walk alongside many who are in the midst of great struggles. I think it is important to share with them that we struggle, too, and continually have to work at how to glorify God even during the hard times.
I love the book of Romans, as it offers so many inspiring and hope-filled messages to guide us through difficult times. A little further on in chapter seven, verse 28 it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
It is my prayer that as we encourage others throughout the week, we remember these verses from Romans. It is also my prayer that we will use our own experiences with struggles to relate and empathize when offering a healing presence. Not that all struggles are the same by any means, but our response to struggles should be similar.
Let’s remember to be a healing presence with one another as well as when we leave this building.