Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK FIVE
ORBIT – DAY TWNETY FOUR
Hello and welcome to another Orbit, the weekday devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. If you’re just joining us for the first time, Orbit is a daily Bible reading, with some thoughts to help you put it into practice in your life. We hope this is useful – if you like it, please do spread the word!
BIBLE READING – Romans 5: 1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.
Let’s be honest, when Paul says ‘we glory in our sufferings’, we wince. No-one likes pain. When you go to the dentist, you don’t quietly hope that the woman in the white coat is going to produce a drill, and if she does, you certainly don’t think of it as a good thing if she forgets the anaesthetic. We enjoy comfort, pleasure and safety: things going to plan and as we like them to be. We do not enjoy or hope for suffering.
I’m sure Paul didn’t actually enjoy suffering either, but in this passage, he seems to be finding meaning to it. Not because God is inflicting pain on us, but because when difficult, uncomfortable and even agonising things come, God can bring good things out of the worst situations.
Paul lists the stages of what can grow in us when we process pain well. Suffering produces perseverance – we have to work through our problems, and we grow stronger as a result. We develop muscles of stamina and endurance. A little example of this is seen when people – or I call them maniacs – train for a marathon. The early runs, as they step up the pace and the distance, can be excruciating. But over time, they build up the ability to run for much longer.
Perseverance produces character. We become more like the people we were always made to be when we learn self-discipline, and the integrity of self-control. If we learn not to give up when we face obstacles, then over time we change as people.
And finally Paul says, when we become people of developed character, we also become people of hope. Pain forces us to become people who can endure difficulty, and people who have developed endurance begin to be able to see the bigger picture. By moving the focus from our current situation, we can start to take a more eternal perspective.
Again – I don’t believe that God purposefully puts us through pain. But he does help us to find meaning and even purpose when we do go through it. Sometimes he uses those moments to lift our eyes to something greater than we can imagine, and so while none of us would choose to be in discomfort, there’s always light to be found in darkness.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, we confess that we don’t enjoy pain. But when we do have to suffer, please build in us perseverance, character and hope, so that we can not only be people who can endure difficult times, but also become people with a great sense of hope. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
One of the most important things we need when we’re suffering or struggling is the help and support of other people. Today, think of someone who is going through a tough time. Pray for them, but also do something practical: send them a message of encouragement or make them a gift. God so often uses us to be the light in someone else’s darkness – so make yourself available to God for that purpose today.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!