From the Pastor's Desktop

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” .

Romans 5:1-5 ESV

             As I look out my office window, another gray overcast day is visible, and although the prediction of the resident rodent says an early spring is in the offing for us, experience tells me that here in Ohio, anything--and by anything, I mean temperatures between 0- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit are quite possible—can happen.  The dreariness of winter is in full swing, which leaves us longing for warmer days to come, and the hope of seeing green leaves and grass.  

            Perhaps the weather isn’t the only thing that has some sense of dreariness upon you.  Life can be difficult, and then the gray days of winter just make it that much more real.  If that is your experience right now, then hear these words of Paul that help us to remember that God has a purpose in everything, and that our time in Him isn’t wasted.  Because of what we know is in store for the believer in Christ, we have peace with God, and a future assured to us that will be beyond our wildest imagination.  Between now and then there will be trials; there will perhaps be some suffering, but he would say to us, as he told the Philippians, “Press on!”

            The hope of what is to come, in seeing the “glory of God”, of forever rejoicing in the grace offered to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, is the fuel to keep us going on those difficult days.  The Bible says in many places, “and it came to pass…”  If we are in a period of suffering, remember “that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

            Peter says it this way in 1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  How we hold up through these various trials and hardships is a testimony to the strength and soundness of our faith.  

            It should also not be lost on us that it is through these various trials and hardships that our faith is built up and strengthened.  When we see God’s faithfulness carry us through yet another event or occasion, we know that we can trust Him for the next one.  

We are also encouraged and strengthened when we read of the accounts in Scripture of God bringing His people through the difficulties that they faced.  In our Bible Reading plan recently, the book of Esther truly stands out.  It is an incredible example of God’s hand of protection on them, of people of faith stepping out in faith to hold fast to Him, and God’s redemption of the Jews from the hands of those who meant them harm.  

It’s good for us to be reminded of these things from time to time to encourage us to “keep on keeping on”.  Although some might think that the first day of spring should be a national holiday, perhaps it only seems that way for those of us “up north”.  We long for the days of color and life, of green grass and leaves, yellow, purple, and red flowers, and a return to warmer temperatures.  Those days will come in God’s good time.  In the meantime, press on!


By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen