“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 2-5
As I was reading Romans, it reminded me of something I heard at the Become Conference from a guest speaker named Josh Lane. Josh spoke on suffering and brought up some of the provocative ideas presented in Romans 5. He outlined a timeline for suffering.
I wrote it in my journal simply as this:
Suffering → Endurance → Character → Hope
Josh went on to ask us where we saw ourselves on this timeline. In that time, I realized that I was no longer in the stage of suffering that I had found myself in this time last year. At that time, I was wrestling with guilt and shame and became overwhelmingly hungry for growth and a tangible awareness of God’s voice. In that time, God graciously spoke loudly to me and I felt that he continually pulled me, as C.S. Lewis describes in the Chronicles of Narnia, “further up and further in.” It was a truth I had already been experiencing, but as Josh spoke, the language of the Scriptures unveiled to me that shame no longer had any hold over me. Josh remarked on the incredible nature of this suffering timeline ending in hope. He said, “Suffering usually takes our hope but in God’s kingdom hope is gained at the end of suffering. Hope does not end in shame but in glory.” I knew this to be true for me and what God had done in my life. He is continually transforming my character for his glory and life is full of excitement, adventure and plot twists as he works. He never shies away from our ugliness and brokenness but eternally calls us deeper. He took a guilty, shame-ridden prodigal, and renamed him as a chosen son for his Kingdom. God be praised for his masterful artistry, amazing grace, and un-tamable love and pursuit.
Come join us at our full blog site.