We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
Romans 5:3, NLT*
Most people’s natural reaction to problems and trials is a plea to get us out of there. We don’t like pain, and it’s often a signal of danger (think about touching a hot stove, or feeling symptoms of a health problem).
In a fallen world, pain is inevitable. Nobody wants it, but God can use even this. Let’s not waste it.
Today’s verse can remind us to invite God to work in our problems and to “help us develop endurance.” It shifts our focus from the trouble itself to God. Not that it diminishes the pain, but it restores perspective. We’re not alone. The God of the universe is with us. He cares for us, and He is our best and only hope.
Instead of slipping into self-defense mode, can we learn to ask what will God do here? Can we look for His help in anticipation and trust instead of watching fearfully for disaster?
The Message actually uses the words “alert expectancy” as we look “for whatever God will do next.” (Romans 5:3-5, MSG) That’s a challenge I can’t live up to, most days. But I want to.
God our Strength and our Shield, when You let us go through trials, help us remember that You are there with us. Help us keep our eyes on You. Teach us to look in alert expectancy for “whatever You will do” and to remember that however huge the crisis, You can give us what we need to endure it.
When I looked for an “endurance” song, I couldn’t get this one out of my head, so perhaps God wants to speak to someone through it… it’s definitely a good prayer for each of us: Matt Maher‘s “A Future Not My Own.” (See the background to the lyrics.)
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.