The Beauty Of Suffering by Tina Richardson

God is not bound by our timelines or circumstances. Rather, God often chooses to speak to us when we least expect or are prepared for it. I was in a meeting recently, and while trying to stay focused on what I thought to be the most important point of the conversation, God began to speak. His words, undeterred in their speed and clarity, raced through my mind faster than I could write them down. My focus shifted dramatically as He used the seemingly mundane as a catalyst for revelation. This entry is the result of that encounter.

In what seemed like a curtain of fire, God, armed with His Word and warring in love, began to rapid fire a series of words that manifested into sentences and took the form of thoughts. In the midst of it all, I heard Romans 5:3-5, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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."

Yet, He did not stop there. I found myself caught in a hailstorm of divine elocution as He continued in declaration. You can't have Testimony without trial, nor value without cost. You can't treasure without understanding loss. This is why, for the believer, suffering leads to hope. It is a dialectic pairing indeed. This notion is one that confounds and confuses because it lacks the sense of reality in the situation, but to the wise has all the hallmarks of resolute soundness, of the rawest of truths. And while tension remains, there is such an unmistaken reality that cannot be overlooked. This reality exists as evident as the noon day sun, at it's most direct point. It is as evident as the moon's beams that lends us it's borrowed rays in the earth's deepest darkness. One is hard-pressed to dismiss such an awareness of either phenomenon, but often we forget the complete honesty of nature in this world. We dismiss it as “the way things are,” as if these events are mundane in nature, lacking any form of celestial effect. But should we not fight to see the beauty in the common, or hope in the struggle? Even more, how can a statement that so boldly posits that we, the saints, should glory in our sufferings have such revelation? Does this not sound as if it were the spouting of foolish men? But to the wise, such a profession pierces their hearts and compels them to be formed by the very words they utter, which with such clarity demonstrates the transformative power these words posses. To this point, one can sense the overwhelming awareness of such a revelation. It is this very movement, so imbued with such great power, that turns victims into victors and slaves into sons; the bound into free men, and the hopeless into the inherited carriers of every bit of hopefulness! In this hope, there lacks all form of disparity and stands void of the power of darkness. Truly, this is hope in it's most authentic form, one forged beyond ourselves. In this, we have stepped into the hope of the ages, one rooted in God and refined by His love.