1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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.
Faith is easy when everything is going well. Without worry or uncertainty, it is easy to be happy and joy-filled. What about those times, though, when things are difficult and out of our control? As humans, we are conditioned to accept cause and effect. For example, if I go to work every day I will receive a paycheck and can therefore pay for food and housing. What happens when, through no fault of your own, that job disappears. Will you continue to live with joy?
Romans 5:2 tells us that each of us has personal access to God through the grace of Jesus. We can petition God for anything we want and he will listen. That does not mean all our prayers are answered the way we hope. Often we pray for something and expect immediate results. We want God to handle our problems without making any effort on our own.
In fact, God may use this delay to develop our character. Romans 5:3 says we should give praise even in suffering because suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance means to work toward a goal despite difficulties or obstacles. How much more satisfying is the reward when we work hard to obtain it. Verse 4 continues to say that perseverance builds character and with character comes hope.
We can even use quilting as an analogy. You decide you want a quilt. You can buy a quilt and own it immediately. Then you think maybe you would like to make a quilt so you pick up some books or watch some videos and buy fabric. You cut the fabric and start sewing. Your work may not be very good on that first quilt, but you persevere and continue sewing and after a little while your seams match better and you are happier with the results. Quilter is now part of your character and is one way you define yourself. Along the way to becoming a quilter you made many mistakes and learned many lessons. As a result you gained confidence and assurance and your hope to be a quilter became reality.
It doesn’t end there, however. Does this mean after you have made your first quilt, you’ve learned everything and won’t make any mistakes? I wish that were true, but I can attest, no matter how many quilts I make, I am still learning. There is great satisfaction when a quilt is finished and you are delighted in the result. You probably weren’t so happy when you struggled to match points or had seam ripper in hand to fix mistakes, but your perseverance paid off.
Life is like that. We struggle through difficulties and become better people because of it. We gain compassion for others who are also facing trials. When you think your prayers are not being answered, continue to be joyful, and look for ways God may be trying to refine your character.
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.
Women of the Bible Blocks 13 and 14
Block 13 represents Asenath who was Joseph’s wife. There isn’t much written about her in the Bible, but she is mentions in Genesis 41.
Block 14 represents Jephtah’s Daughter whose story is told in Judges 11.
Have a peaceful and blessed Sunday.