We all have moments of sudden inspiration – insight about someone, about a situation – that changes us. We wonder why we did not see it before, don’t we? Sometimes I awaken in the middle of night realizing that the solution to some problem is mine, Hallelujah! Sometimes a friend offers their counsel and hands me the key that unlocks my understanding. I am currently reading a book about walking with God in times of suffering. I have paused more than once, grateful for the author’s wisdom that helps me unravel the snarls in my thoughts!
This passage from the Word offers light for life; revelation that leads to revolution! “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 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. … “Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:1-5, 11, NIV)
The key to a joyous life is a gift that God offers: that we can be ‘justified,’ things set right between Him and us, when we accept His gift by faith. Alienation from our Father causes us to feel lonely, lost, without purpose or plan for life. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). “ (Ephesians 2:4-5, NKJV) That truth transforms! How?
“We have PEACE with God.” When the Spirit comes to live in us, we lose the angst that causes us to fear the future, to dread death, to wonder why we exist. We now know the Almighty God as “Father.” He is approachable, loved and loving. We realize that He is our “Abba” – a familiar term meaning, Dad!
“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God!” That word “rejoice” can be translated alternately as “boast.” No, not in a prideful way, but in a confident way based on relationship. Yes, because He has set us right we get to bask in His reflected glory. We can rightly do a little Name-dropping! When we have the opportunity to spend some personal time with an accomplished individual, we like to tell people, don’t we? About 30 years ago at a conference convened by the Billy Graham association, I was part of a small gathering of pastors that spent a couple of hours talking to Graham and key members of his team. It was a thrill to be around men who had done so much for the Kingdom of God, to hear their stories, to listen. I’m sure I told many people about that ‘glory.’ God, the King of Heaven, invites us to come near and then to carry His radiance back into the world; not because we are great, but because He is!
“We rejoice in our sufferings.” When we KNOW we are right with God and part of His family the suffering that comes into our life gains new meaning; to the extent that we actually can find JOY in it. God, our Father, can and does use the things that bring tears to make us into beings that bear the mark of His Person. We learn to keep on going through tough times. We gain depth of character that makes us solid people. And, we lose the attachment to superficial things, replacing love of stuff, reputation, and pleasure with the joyful hope of the promise of God! Maybe that part is a little beyond you at this moment. If so, simply ask Him to help you to see it, to enter into rejoicing IN, not because of, suffering.
“We rejoice IN GOD, right now.” Because we are justified, life changes NOW, not just in some future moment when we go to Heaven. The center out of which we live shifts from Self to Jesus. The focus of our life changes from time to eternity as we become eternal being who are living in a temporal world. No, we are not detached from reality; we are attached to an unseen but very real hope that makes everything better.
Take a few moments to read those key lines again. Do so prayerfully, letting faith build, so that revelation will bring revolution.
Justified by Faith!
Peace with God!
Boasting in our relationship with Him, sharing His glory!
Rejoicing in the hard stuff!
Knowing that we are, NOW, made into eternal being with life that never ends.
Here is the word from the Word. “When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT)
I Stand Amazed (My Savior’s Love)
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus, the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned unclean?
For me it was in the garden
He prayed, “not My will but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
In pity angels beheld Him
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night
He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own.
He bore the burden to Calvary
And suffered and died alone.
How marvelous, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be.
How marvelous, how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me.
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
‘Twill be my joy through the ages,
To sing of His love for me!
Charles Hutchinson Gabriel
© Words: Public Domain