May 28, 2019

Suffering Seeks Hope

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 28, 2019

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

I remember the exact moment I heard “the voice.” As a new Christian I had heard that the Lord promises to speak to those who know Him, but as a new Christian, I hadn’t ever felt He’d spoken to me before. And I certainly didn’t expect to hear from him there, in the library at my university during my sophomore year of college while I was browsing the art section.

I didn’t expect to hear from Him, but I needed to hear from Him. The message He gave me wasn’t what I would call happy, because when the Holy Spirit whispered to me, I knew He wasn’t going to solve the problem I was having at that time. But it was good because He told me He wanted to give me hope.

I had just gotten through a horrible breakup with a young man that I loved. We’d been together since I was a junior in high school and my world revolved around him. I guess you could say I kind of idolized him. He was everything to me.

So, when my desire to get back together after our breakup didn’t work out, I was crushed. Crushed with guilt. Crushed with disappointment and crushed with hopelessness. My sense of identity was so wrapped up in the young man that I felt as if my heart was irreversibly broken. If Neil didn’t accept me, how could I possibly accept myself? I didn’t feel that anything good could come from our messy breakup—which I knew was largely my fault—or my heartbreak.

But that day in the library, I sensed a gentle, unexpected whisper. “I want to give you a hope outside of Neil.”

In that moment, even though I didn’t like it because I knew God was saying He was not going to repair my relationship, I knew He wanted to use my disappointment to push me toward something redemptive, something that when rooted in God could never be destroyed no matter what happened in my life. My disappointment was designed to push me toward hope. . . the kind of hope that cannot be shaken, the kind of hope that is rooted in knowing you are loved, the kind of hope that never disappoints. And, oh how I desperately needed hope. My heart was crushed, and I felt it was crushed beyond repair.

At the time, I didn’t understand the significance of this hope the Lord wanted to give me. I didn’t know that for me to experience hope in the future in other trials, the Lord had to allow me to suffer then. If He had not used that difficult experience to give me hope, I would have stayed trapped in the mess of allowing other people’s opinions to rule me. I would have stayed trapped in overwhelming feelings of rejection. I would have never grown. And I honestly believe I would have never started a writing career.

And so, He allowed what I didn’t want to accomplish that which would ultimately give me hope.

This is the paradox of disappointment, broken hearts, and suffering. The world says they are all bad. God says He uses them for good to bring us into a greater fullness. He uses them to give us hope.

Romans 5:3-4 commands us to rejoice in our sufferings because they produce perseverance, character, and hope.

Oh! And this hope! What if we could truly live in it all the time? We would never be crushed under the weight of any trial. We would be steadfast in the knowledge that God is going to work it all out and work it out for good.

Are you going through a trial? Can you dare to believe that God is working it for good? Can you dare believe that good will come out of it, that it won’t be wasted, that He will give you hope not in spite of what has happened, but because of what happened.

Dare to believe.

In every disappointment and heartbreak, we have a decision to make. Who will we believe? Will we believe that God wants to bring us into greater help, or we will we agree with our adversary that God is hurting us so that life no longer has anything good in it?

I challenge you today to allow the words the Lord spoke to me in the library to be yours. I want to give you a hope because of your disappointment.

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, in my suffering I seek you and the hope you provide in Christ, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

What is the Lord teaching me as I persevere through this season of suffering?


Related Reading

1 Corinthians 15:19; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 3:6


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Hope in Christ gives us the strength to persevere. #WisdomHunters #Jesus


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