Romans 5:1-5 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
One of my favorite paintings is one that was painted by Thomas Kinkade, "The Painter of Light". He has a talent for capturing the truths of life as inspiration for many of his paintings. In this painting, he captures his thoughts about perseverance, noted here in his own words:
"I've never set out to create a painting that explicitly illustrates a foundational life value. Until now.
Perseverance, first in my Life Values Collection, is a homily in print and canvas, inspired by a real moment of doubt and determination.
We see that the clouds are about to break. The seas will calm; the sailor's perseverance will soon be rewarded by a return to God's safe haven. Like the dove that flew to Noah as a sign of God's provision, seagulls circle above the boat in my painting as a reminder that safety lay just over the horizon.
Perhaps this painting can assure each of us that if we can simply persevere, God's hand of love will soon disperse each storm we face."
Paul touches on this sentiment when he writes about our persevering through God producing character and hope. All of us have faced difficult times, but as Christians they seem easier to endure. God purposely allows us to go through "stuff", trials and difficulties, to help us build our character. He also helps us go through the "stuff", and because He does, we have the hope that He is always with us through the storms of life..
Have you noticed how anxious non-believers get when they go through trouble? And, have you noticed how quickly God proves Himself as our hope when we turn over our "stuff" to Him? It just seems much easier to take. These days things are tough out there, yet we can be sure that God will work it all out for good. Through the Holy Spirit, we will definately know we will make it through.
For many, this Easter Season just passed has been very difficult. For some, loved ones have recently died; some have recently lost thier jobs, and they don't know where the next dollar will come from; and others are facing a difficult illness or disease without prospect of a cure. These things and many others are the storms of life. If we only look at the waves around us, we may feel that our lives will soon capsize in the midst of the storm.
But if we will turn over everything to the God that loves us, and seek the comfort only Jesus Christ can give, we will soon see that the clouds will break, the seas will calm, and the sailor's perseverance, our perseverance, will soon be rewarded by a return to God's safe haven.
Painting "Perseverance" by Thomas Kinkade, 2000, from kinkadecentral.com