Those joyful tough times

REJOICE in our sufferings the Bible tells us (Romans 5:3).

Really?

I can honestly say I’ve never seen this in even the most faithful disciple of Christ.

I don’t see a huge smile on the face of anyone suffering. But maybe it’s not something you see on the outside.

There’s something deeper, much deeper to grasp here.

We all hear that tough times help us to grow and mature, and it’s true. What exactly does this mean for the believer?

When things get complicated and tough, a person goes through different stages. You might get mad or complain. You might feel sad or victimized. You feel like nobody cares about you, and they don’t understand you.

You feel alone.

Some might lash out while others withdraw. So you look gloomy or put on a fake smile.

And when you go to God, it all comes pouring out… the anger, sorrow, pleading, asking, seeking, repenting, crying out. It’s a hurricane of emotions swirling around inside you. Or maybe a deep dark silence appears, and you feel like you’re drowning.

Eventually the storm inside wears itself out. You end up broken and exhausted.

Then, quietly, gently the Spirit appears. He begins his work.

No more howling wind. No more clutter and noise.

Just you and God.

You can listen. You can hear.

What do you hear now?

When the dust settles and the wind dies down, you realize there’s only one thing left you can do:

TRUST.

This is the tremendous grace you receive only in the most difficult times.

Nobody seeks this, but it is a precious fruit born of the goodness of God.

When you have nothing left to give, when all worry has been spent, when you are left broken and weak… all you can do now is rely on God.

Does this mean you shut down? Does it mean you take no action? No.

But the heavy lifting is now left to your Creator.

You see Christ clearly on the cross, and you understand at a deeper level.

You begin to rest in him like never before. And in that place of rest, you open yourself up to God’s great mercy.

The risen Lord opens his hands and reveals his wounds again to you.

He offers you his peace.

Your weary soul sighs with relief as the grace of God washes over you.

You experience a level of clarity that was impossible before.

Miraculously, you are calm and steady.

And when the storm whips up into a frenzy once again, you are anchored, solid and sure.

So yes, with trials and tribulation, you can rejoice as you are at rest in the Lord.

Praise be to God. 

. . . . . . .

But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, 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.  

Romans 5:3-5

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