“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials” Rom. 5:3
“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true,” said Michael to his class. “I’ve read those words of Job many times over the years and, for the most part, felt a slight sympathy or a bit of empathy for Job. But now, I can say with certainty, I am in that situation. And guess what? I am devastated! I am at my wits end. No longer do I have the luxury to cast a glance at Job’s literary problems and feel superior. This is my life. It’s personal. My life has fallen apart, just like those buildings we’ve seen on TV, imploding in place, falling in clouds of exploding sparks and smoke, down upon itself in a heap of rubble. That is my life. In ruins.”
No one spoke. Tears ran down Michael’s face as he stood dejected, feeling lost and alone. Defeated. And now, in silence, he felt worse, wondering why he had shared honestly about his failings. Answers seemed to elude the class just as they did Michael.
“What does God have to say about your problems, Michael?” Said Carl. “Have you given all this to the Lord? Surely God has an answer!”
“I don’t understand, Carl. These are my problems, I created the mess. Why should I look to God to bail me out? That seems hypocritical to me…running to God like a little kid, begging for His supernatural help. I didn’t ask Him when I made all the bad decisions.”
“As far as I know, Michael, the Bible has answers to all our problems whether we asked for them or not. We’ve all read and talked about these things in this class many times. Now it’s time to see how God works in our lives when it is really difficult. He wants you and all of us, to make Him a partner in our lives; every day.
“Let’s read about this in Romans 5:1-11…Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
“Carl, I enjoy reading the Bible just like you but I don’t get how I can see direct answers to my problems in these verses. Something written more than two thousand years ago, translated over and over is great, I agree. But where is my answer today, in America?”
“Michael, either you believe the Bible, and I mean all of it, or you don’t. This is not up for grabs.”
Again a silence filled the classroom. Michael got red as Carl stared at him. “This is a moment of truth, Michael. Is the Bible God’s Word to you?” And then, looking to others in the class, Carl said, “And what of us? Do we firmly believe the Bible is God’s Word, His holy Word? If we do then answers and behaviors can be found within as we are guided by the Holy Spirit each time we read these pages.
“Look at verse three, Michael. God says…we can rejoice when we fall into problems and trials because they help us develop endurance. This is God’s word for us right now, today, in America. If I read no further I know that my problems and trials help me develop endurance. And, I should rejoice! Not just put up with them but rejoice. Do I? Do we? Not usually. If I’m not hearing God then I am not listening and probably not following the directions He has laid out in His Word. How many times do I rejoice during trials and problems, hoping to develop endurance and see God’s leading in my life?”
“If we read no further and purposed in our hearts to rejoice at problems and trials our lives would radically change forever. God has given us all we need. We just need to act on what He’s given us.”