Friday, April 2
Scripture: Deuteronomy 29-30, Romans 5
Romans 5:1–5 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.
So much to pick from today! But this stood out to me because last night I read an interview with Tim Keller in Outreach magazine on hope. Keller is battling pancreatic cancer, and talked about the hope we have because of the resurrection of Jesus. In the Bible, hope isn’t a weak wish (I hope I shoot 76 today); it’s a confident expectation of good, and is more like the way we use the word “know” (I know church will be good this weekend). The resurrection of Jesus gives us the hope of eternal life—the confident expectation that Jesus’ resurrection guarantees our own (see 1 Corinthians 15:20-24). I know Jesus was raised from the dead and lives forever, and I know I will too. Keller talked about “resting in the resurrection”—living with hope in the midst of fearful circumstances.
Paul tells us to rejoice (glory) in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, character and hope. We don’t usually think about rejoicing in our suffering. Being a Christian doesn’t shield us from suffering. In fact, it may actually increase our suffering, since in addition to the normal hardships of life we may also suffer for Christ. But our suffering is not wasted. God is using it to develop perseverance, character and hope. God is at work in our suffering bringing about good in us and for us. So we can “rest in the resurrection,” confident in God’s goodness, purpose and power.
On this Good Friday, leading into Resurrection Sunday, I’m going rejoice in my suffering (whatever they may be) knowing that God is at work for my good. I’m going to rest in the resurrection!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for hope in the midst of darkness. Please use our church (and others) to spread the good news of hope in Jesus this weekend!