BARRIERS BECOME HOPE
3 Not only so, but we[a]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. Romans 5:3-5
Barriers are a natural part of life and we continue to face these barriers as things go a little crazy in the midst of uncertainty. We continue to pray for hope to help us to weather the storms. Life is really something that is filled with uncertainty and we continue to strive to learn the lessons that God has in store for us as everything comes to a head in some of our weakest moments. I know that there are days we all want to throw up our hands and crawl back into bed and just start the day all over again in hopes of a different outcome. One of the craziest movies I have seen that has dealt with this scenario is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. He continues to repeat February 2nd over and over again until he realizes the changes that needed to be made in his life. He is able to take life by storm and learn things that help to enhance his life. He also continues to go through struggles of trying to find multiple ways to end his life but wakes up again at 6:00am to start the day all over again. How would that be for us? How would we really react to trying to overcome our faults and our barriers by reliving the same day over and over again until we got it right? We would all probably go insane and feel as though we are a super hero, but in reality we would find out just how many times we fail and are in need of someone to help us overcome ourselves.
Life is crazy. I mean one day we can have the best day of our lives and feel as though we are hitting a pretty amazing stride. Then, we experience something that sets us into a complete tailspin the next day and we are wondering if anything is every going to go right again. Life is a part of a roller-coaster or uncertainty, but I am here to tell you that we are in this life
together. I have experienced the highest of higher and the lowest of lows. I have been able to see God in both of those times. I know that I really wanted to fast-forward to the end, but
truly the journey is part of the education that we need to process. The journey through the good and the bad is a part of the stretching and refining that God is doing in our lives to prepare us for the next steps of our spiritual journey. I really wish that I could say that once we become Christians, we are capable of seeing everything perfectly and that life is never going to be hard, but we all know that is not true. We are going to continue to be tested so that our faith will be stretched and that perseverance will help give us hope to endure to the end. I cannot imagine how it had to be as a disciple waiting to see what was going to happen after Jesus died, but I am assured that God already had a plan for the Holy Spirit to walk with them on the next steps of their journey. We have the same Holy Spirit that is ready to walk with us as well. So when we see the barrier, remember we are not alone to break through and step to the other side of the fence.
Paul is writing this to encourage that church that was being persecuted. Remember it was not all roses and joy after Pentecost. The world was not ready or prepared for what Jesus brought, and the disciples and the early church faced many different adversities. It is a struggle and I just want to let you know that we continue to face the same struggles today. As Paul is writing to the church in Rome, he is asking them to see that what they are facing in adversity is going to prepare for what is to come. Paul is asking them to hold strong and recognize that God is trying to help them see that there is HOPE at the end of the road. God gave to us the ultimate sign of HOPE by sending Jesus into the world to lead and die and overcome death. Yes in the days before Jesus rose, I can only imagine the many times that the disciples looked at each other and said what do we do next. I can imagine that they were terrified for their lives and so were the churches that felt as if they had been left out to fend for their lives. But God still had a bigger plan. It did not mean that the early church or the church today was not going to go through times of uncertainty and persecution. It means that God is trying to teach us a new way to come out of the persecution even stronger than what we were like before. God has a plan and the true test is how we persevere when the curveballs show up.
So as we look at the impasses of life and see mountains that may be unsurmountable, God is not going to leave us alone and trying to find a way out. God is going to stretch us beyond our abilities and share with us a chance to learn a deeper lesson in the process about ourselves. God is not testing our faith, but trying to stretch our ability to endure. We come before God with an unshakable faith that can definitely move those mountains, and just like the early Church, we have to be ready to stand firm and fully rely on God when those troubled times arise. God will continue to give us hope and this hope is through the life of Jesus. We should never question if God has our best interest in mind, because He proved that through the giving the ultimate sacrifice through His Son Jesus Christ. We have to be willing to step out on faith and take hold of the moments as lessons that we need to walk through and experience to make us stronger in our faith. God has a plan and we are a part of that plan in this world. Never forget that, but be ready to face the flaming arrows of this world that will continue to tear us down and cause us to question what is going to happen next. Stay in the Lord and watch as we continue to walk through the fire