"...but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5.
I came across these verses a couple of days ago in my daily Bible reading and have found myself returning to them several times since then. It isn't that I'm unfamiliar with these Scriptures and have just now discovered them, but for the first time they seem to have really hit home with me. Has this ever happened to you? We can become so familiar with certain Bible passages and have committed many to memory, but during a particular time or season of our lives, we see them in an unexpected way that brings new meaning to us. This is what happened to me.
I've been going through some "stuff" lately; you know, those things that can become wearisome, that sap our energy and we just want to see an end to it. Nothing life-threatening or earth shattering, but just the daily grind we sometimes go through or a problem that seems to reappear just when we thought it was resolved. I remember asking the Lord one morning, "Lord, why do I have to keep dealing with these same issues?" And then I came across this verse of Scripture and had my answer. Because He wants to shape my character! Someone wiser than me once said that we must keep going through certain trials until we have learned all that God wants to teach us. If we don't learn it the first time, He'll bring it back into our lives again. One of the things I have a hard time dealing with is patience. I think I'm getting better at this, but I'm not quite there yet and I know there is still more the Lord wants to teach me; He is fine tuning my character while I learn.
I've always been the kind of person who wants quick resolutions to problems. I think it's safe to say most of us feel that way! I want answers right away and everything to be resolved and wrapped up in a neat little package with a big red bow tied at the top of it. Unfortunately, life just doesn't work that way! Sometimes we have to wait on the Lord's timing. And while we're waiting, we need to learn to lean on Him and let Him guide us through each day, teaching us to "stand" and to wait in hope. I like that verse 5 in the 5th chapter of Romans says that "hope does not disappoint." I'm encouraged by that and it comforts me. There is always hope. And character produces hope! Wow, isn't it wonderful how God ties it all together - character produces hope and hope doesn't disappoint. I'm resting in Jesus, learning to be patient and while doing so, I am hope-filled. And my character is changing and I'm becoming more like Him. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?
Dear Jesus, thank You that in everything You bring good out of it. We don't like the trials and tribulations that we have to go through, but even in these, You produce good fruit in us if we'll only allow You to let Your will be done in our lives. Help me to persevere during the hard times, letting "patience have its perfect work, that I may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:4). Mold and shape my character and make me more like You, precious Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
A recipe for Friendship Tea ~ let's share a cup!
- 1 (3 ounce) package lemon-flavored ice tea mix
- 2 (1.8 ounce) packages orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
- 1 1/3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
Original Recipe Yield 32 1 1/2-teaspoon servings
- Combine iced tea mix, orange flavored drink mix, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Store in an airtight container.
- To serve, stir 1 1/2 teaspoon mix into 1 cup hot water.
This is a delicious dry spiced tea mix which can be packed in jars and given as gifts. It can also be prepared sugar free by using sugar free orange flavored drink mix and sugar free iced tea mix.