• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Your face, LORD, do I seek. [Psa 27:8 ESV].

Trials and Hardships are Love From God

How often do we look at trials and hardships as something we have to get through so we can get back to our normal lives? The Apostle Paul explained to the church in Rome why suffering is normal and we should look at it as an outpouring of God’s love upon us.

Writing to the church in Rome, he addressed them as “loved by God and called to be His saints.” And he wrote:

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [Rom 1:7 ESV].

This is the first thing: If we are loved by God and called to be His saints, we have God’s grace and are at peace with Him. This peace means we are no longer His enemy. We are no longer under His wrath, because He has justified us and given us faith – which, through Christ, gives us access to His grace. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Romans chapter five:

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. [Rom 5:1-2 ESV]

Paul wrote, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” meaning our future glory. In the next portion we will read, he transitioned to rejoicing in our life now – but he described this life as trials and sufferings. We can rejoice in hardships, for God has given us His Holy Spirit who is working in our lives to produce His will. As Paul continued in chapter five:

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. [Rom 5:3-5 ESV]

Paul equates our life now with suffering – suffering is part of “God’s love poured into our hearts,” as he put it. During times of hardship, we can be easily distracted from seeing the love of God. But the Apostle Paul told us we can be sure of God’s love because He has shown us by saving us when we could not save ourselves – even though we were enemies of God. As he continued in chapter five:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. [Rom 5:6-11 ESV].

Crescendo. Crescendo. Crescendo. Look at what Paul wrote in this third passage from chapter 5: While we were sinners, Christ died for us and we are justified by His blood;

  • But – as if this is not enough, he wrote “Much more” – the first crescendo – Much more we are saved by Christ from the wrath of God. Or, as Paul Washer likes to say, “We are saved by God, from God and for God.”
  • Then he wrote, “Much more” (again) – the second crescendo – Much more now that we are reconciled by Christ’s death, we will be saved by His life. This means we will never suffer eternal death.
  • Finally, he wrote, “More than that” – the third crescendo – More than that we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have much to rejoice being spared God’s wrath and we will rejoice forever in His glory.

Let’s jump over to Romans chapter eight, beginning with verse 28. The Apostle Paul wrote those God called, He justified and, if justified, we will also be glorified. For this reason all things work for our good – to accomplish God’s purpose in our lives. Paul was writing about our life of suffering and this goes along with chapter five: rejoicing in trials and hardships. And we can rejoice, because here in chapter eight he said those God foreknew – or those He chose before the creation of the world according to Ephesians 1:4-5 – He predetermined they would go through trials to be conformed to the image of His Son. Let’s look at this passage:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. [Rom 8:28-30 ESV]

In chapter five, Paul gave us assurance of God’s love so that we would not be distracted in times of trials and hardships. Here, in chapter eight, Paul told us trials and hardship are a sign of God’s love – though he did not use those exact words. But, what He did say was this:

  • His purpose is for those whom He has called to be conformed to the image of His Son – this means God will discipline us, for, according to Hebrews 12:6, God disciplines those He loves;

And he also said:

  • Christ is the firstborn among many brothers – this means God wants to conform us in Christ’s image – to be His brother. Paul wrote in verse 23, just a few verses earlier “. . . we wait eagerly for adoption as sons. . .” This tells us God loves us as family.

When we go through trials and hardships, we should rejoice to know God, in His love, has predestined this for us so we might be more like His Son and be with Him in glory. And, Paul gave us this further assurance in chapter eight, as he wrote:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? [Rom 8:31-32 ESV]

Meditate on this: Before time and creation began, God was in His glory, rejoicing in the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He needed nothing but He was willing to break this up. Paul wrote, “He did not spare His Son.” In fact, the prophet Isaiah wrote it was God’s will to crush Him for our sake (Isa 53:10).

Now, the Father – who crushed the Son, and the Son – who was crushed for our sin, they both, graciously, give us all things – including life eternal to be with Him forever. In fact, Christ, the Son, is anxious for us to be with Him in glory. As Jesus prayed before He went to Calvary:

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see My glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. [Joh 17:24 ESV].

In chapter five and here in chapter eight of Romans, the Apostle Paul told us trials and hardships should not distract us from God’s love. We just read trials and hardships actually come from His love to conform us to be like His Son. Nonetheless, trials and hardships can lead us to doubt God’s love for us. But it seems as if Paul anticipated this problem and he closed this passage with a reminder never to doubt the love of God and our security in Him:

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rom 8:33-39 ESV].

This should lead us to rejoicing: that we should be chosen by God and that He would patiently work in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son. He did this to adopt us into His eternal family. Can there be any greater love?

When trials and hardships come: remember the love of God.

  • Remember – we have been justified by faith and have peace with God;
  • Remember – when we were too weak to save ourselves, Christ died for us and His blood has reconciled us to God and saved us from His wrath;
  • Remember – all things work together for our good and God is working to conform us to the image of His Son as we eagerly await our adoption;
  • Remember – if God is for us, who can be against us? No one can condemn us. Christ died to settle all charges against us and He sits at the Father’s right hand interceding for us;
  • Remember – in trials and hardships we are more than conquerors; and
  • Remember – nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

Because of what God has done for us, we are freed from the curse of sin and we are freed from eternal death and torment in Hell. What problem, what care, what persecution, oppression, abuse or injustice in this life can compare to the misery we have been spared?

Paul wrote of this hope earlier in chapter eight:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. [Rom 8:18 ESV].

Remember, we are loved by God and called to be His saints.

The Love of God: words and music

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