We see it all the time: #Blessed.
Blessed because of… a great spouse, wonderful kids, a new job, a wonderful moment or person to be celebrated.
There is another side of the coin. The day that couldn’t go more wrong, the lost friendship, the couple whose marriage is struggling, the brokenhearted parent, the termination of a job, the death of a loved one, the diagnosis that changes a life forever.
So often we associate the word “blessed” with our definition of what we perceive as “good.”
Are those who experience the dreaded side of the coin not blessed? Or, perhaps, do we need to redefine what good is and what it is to be blessed?
When hardships come our way, we have to make a choice. We can choose to lament and curse God, or we can choose to praise Him. If you go to Romans 5, you’ll see that it says we can “rejoice in our sufferings.” If you’re like me, you might be saying, “WHAT?!”
Let’s look at this in context. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. More than that, 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 us” (Romans 5:1-5).
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand this passage (Romans is a tough one) or that I get excited and happy when trails come my way. Suffering (no matter how “small”) is not fun and I don’t know anyone who looks forward to enduring it. Even Jesus, facing the cross, asked that if it be the will of the Father, that cup be passed from Him (Matthew 26:39).
How can we possibly look at suffering and rejoice? This can only come when we learn to see suffering as God does: a grace tool used to produce in us character like His and a lasting hope that never fails us because it is placed in Him.
Despite our trials, we are immensely blessed simply because “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No human could possibly be found deserving of such an incredible gift of love and sacrifice. Yet, everyone who is His child is in possession of the greatest gift that could ever be – eternal life with Christ.
A friend has had a rough year filled with disappointment, loss, heartache, and a wearying season of waiting. As we talked one day, she made a statement that I cannot forget, “If the only thing God gives me is Christ dying for me, that’s enough.”
When we truly understand the depth of the wickedness in our heart and are humbled at the overwhelming grace that God gives, then we find a great gift: hope in His love and unfailing character. We are able to rejoice in our suffering because our perspective is radically changed.
The day that couldn’t go more wrong, the lost friendship, the couple whose marriage is struggling, the brokenhearted parent, the termination of a job, the death of a loved one, the diagnosis that changes a life forever.