I’ve had a friend who has gone through what would seem like more than his share of suffering lately. It has battered his faith and his image of himself.
I was originally thinking about writing about how grateful I am, heading into this holiday season, that my family and I have been so incredibly blessed in so many ways. We have been, and I am. But my friend’s situation got me thinking about how the sting of suffering, whether it’s physical, relational, or psychological, can be even more acute in a season when we have a cultural expectation of joy and happiness.
I have listened to and talked with my friend and I’m not confident I’ve done a great job. But I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that God has had me reading Romans 8 in the Bible during the time that these conversations have been happening. Paul, who wrote Romans, was someone who knew about hard times and was writing to and for people who did too. There were three points he made that stuck out to me. The first was that as bad as life is — and it may be really bad right now – God has something in store for us that will make what happening right now looks insignificant.
Although it’s hard to imagine, and maybe at times, hard to believe, think about how amazingly good what He is promising must be. The second point was that whatever God is promising us, we don’t fully have it yet. He said this is something that we hope for. Nobody hopes for something he or she already has. The third point is that it’s assured. Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not death, life, angels, rulers, what’s happening now, what’s going to happen in the future, powers, height, depth, or anything that has ever been created.
It seems to me that if we have what Paul is writing about here, we actually have everything. Yet, I am not in the least wanting to minimize whatever suffering you may be going through. Pain is real, and it really hurts. I just hope these reminders about God’s love are encouraging to you.
Here is a link to all kinds of helpful resources we have for anyone needing extra encouragement and advice, or for anyone who has questions about God, the Bible and this hope I am referring to – just click here.
May you feel God’s love in a new way this holiday season!