Therefore, 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 boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, 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 5:1-5

“We glory in our sufferings”…wait, that doesn’t sound like any fun. Does God really want us to suffer? Jesus told us we would face difficulties when we followed Him. Evil exists in our world and when we stand against it, evil will push back. Jesus knew this and taught us to be ready, not to be surprised when bad things happened to us.

The children of Israel faced this lesson when they left Egypt. Life in the desert was harsh! They were free, but they had to struggle for everything. They complained “Wasn’t it easier when we were slaves in Egypt? We weren’t free but at least there was food and water!” They were reluctant to give up their comfort for what they wanted and they didn’t trust God to be with them and provide what was needed.

God doesn’t send us suffering to punish us, but He does use difficult circumstances we encounter to teach us to be stronger and more faithful. When we face trouble in our lives we find we are not sufficient in and of ourselves. We need the love and support of others. Most of all, we need to rely on God, knowing that He is with us when times are tough, just as when times are good. God knows our sorrows and doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly, but we have to be willing to go to Him and accept that the way is not always short or easy. Let God and his people help you when life is hard! You can’t do it alone!

God of all things, we face opposition in our lives every day. Help us to see that we need Your love and care to endure the evil that confronts us. Let us be courageous in our faith to stand strong against sin and bring back all who suffer. Amen.

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