Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5
We are fragile and finite. Human beings depend on their creator for hope. This world is full of anger, hostility, anti-Christ behavior, sickness, and death. Without Jesus, these things are all we would have and hope in. Faith in a Holy God and a powerful Savior change everything for mankind.
The trials in life are meant to make faith stronger. Endurance speaks to how we respond to the pain and dissapointments of life. Giving up, becoming bitter, or ignoring the truths of God are not traits of enduring faith.
I teeter on anger, frustration, and faithlessness. These thoughts are counter-productive to my healing. Not only that, but distance grows between the Lord and I when I choose to step away in my thought life. I try not to let these thoughts hang around too long. I can combat them with scriptural truth and prayer.
Tribulation brings about perserverence. When the trial arrived, the following qualities are what I have strengthened my endurance:
1. Manage Emotions. The loss of Jana was an all-encompassing loss. This was the greatest pain I have ever experienced. My emotions felt out of my control, and sometimes very overwhelming. I intentionally let my emotions flow where they will, within boundaries. If I am spending too much time in something negative, it’s time to reel that in and ground myself back in truth.
2. Steady Diet of Scripture. Here is where the truth comes from! I must be reading, studying, and just letting God’s word cleanse my thinking. The emotions and thoughts that begin to run haywire should be brought into the light of scripture to determine if I am “going to far” with certain thoughts or combat negative thinking that is lacking faith.
3. Pray…for Real. I am not the only one that has prayed and really not said anything significant or personal in my prayer. When the tribulations of life are high, it’s time to really talk to God. I am sharing my exact thoughts – even the ones that aren’t too pretty. I am trying to be honest with God. Of course, He already knows…but, there is a confession to my honesty.
4. Establish Methods to Process Trial. I have worked to find ways to process my grief. For me it is important to talk to others, write my thoughts out, and exercise. When my emotional state gets out of whack, I can usually do one, or all, of these three methods to “cleanse” my mind and get the ship righted again.
5. Look to God for Joy. There is only one place to find true joy – in Jesus. He is the source of my joy, my hope, and my eternal existence with God. This world does not offer what we need, it never will.
Endurance through the affliction builds our faith. The tactics we employ should all point to this faith strengthening. Through grace, we exult in hope of the glory of God. This trial is making me stronger. It’s not easy, it comes with a lot of pain, but God will be glorified in His purposes!