Not for Our Comfort
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3–4
Dan was riding his motorcycle when a car swerved into his lane and pushed him into oncoming traffic. When he woke up two weeks later in the trauma center, he was “a mess.” Worst of all, he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a paraplegic. Dan prayed for healing, but it never came. Instead, he believes God has compassionately taught him that “the purpose of this life is that we become conformed to the image of Christ. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen when everything is unicorns and rainbows. It . . . happens when life is tough. When we’re forced to rely upon God through prayer just to make it through the day.”
The apostle Paul explained two benefits of right standing with God: persevering and rejoicing in suffering (Romans 5:3–4). These two benefits weren’t a call to endure suffering with stoic fortitude or to find pleasure in pain. It was an invitation to unshakable confidence in God. Suffering plus Christ cultivates “perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (vv. 3–4). This all flows from a faith that the Father won’t abandon us but will walk with us through the fire and into the future.
God meets us in our suffering and helps us grow in Him. Rather than viewing afflictions as His disfavor, may we look for ways He’s using them to sharpen and build our character as we experience His love “poured out into our hearts” (v. 5).
By Marvin Williams
REFLECT & PRAY
What needs to change in your heart and mind for you to handle suffering in Jesus’ strength? What’s one practical way you can persevere through and rejoice in challenges this week?
Jesus, may I find hope and joy in You as You provide what I need.
Learn more about comforting others who are suffering.
Reconciliation restores those who’ve been alienated. Paul uses the word reconcile more than any other New Testament author, often multiple times in a passage; for example, he uses it three times in Romans 5:10–11. He also uses it in Romans 11:15, 2 Corinthians 5:18–19, and 1 Corinthians 7:11 (related to human reconciliation).
Today’s passage highlights the necessity of Jesus’ death for our reconciliation to God. But that isn’t the end. Our reconciliation through His death leads to our salvation through His life. Paul writes, “How much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10). He says that both the death of Jesus and His resurrected life are necessary to our salvation.