I’ve been going through a period in my life where difficulty seems to be the order of the day, and that period is being very sticky – sort of staying in that space and not really moving along from it. It’s really easy to feel hard-done-by, like I’m the only person experiencing life like this, and that it’s just plain unfair. I know how to overcome trials – I’ve been taught about it all my life. But those methods don’t work like magic. They’re not easy or immediate. They require great struggle in their application. Maybe if difficulties were easy to overcome, there’d be little point in experiencing them – an easy answer, and we’d all be out in a jiffy, puffing along happily, hardly jolted. As it stands, they require actual soul-stretching, hair-tearing, tear-stained praying, deep seeking, teeth-gritted perseverance, and finally, you hope, resilience at the end of it. Whenever that end might be.
There are scriptures that do give me strength, depending on the time and my mood. One of those is Romans 5:1-5. I think Paul is actually a fantastic person to read about trials, because his life was filled with them, and he obviously gained wisdom through them. As an apostle of Jesus Christ, he also had divine messages to share about their purpose and how to find the joy of redemption within them.
Up to this point, Paul has been explaining the effects of Christ’s Atonement, which give His disciples new life in Him. So chapter 5 begins with a “therefore”.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Knowing that we no longer rely only on ourselves (or think we do), we can gain peace. We also no longer need to be fearful of being shut out of God’s presence, or fearing His judgements, because we are saved through His Son, who offers His righteousness in place of ours.
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory even in tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh perseverance; and perseverance, victory over trials; and this victory, hope:
Believing then that we will be saved ultimately through Christ’s grace, and that it is saving us day by day, we feel strength with Him, and that we can endure our trials. As we do that, we gain perseverance, which leads us to endure well and to finally overcome each trial; which victory gives us more hope – because we overcame this thing, and it worked, and we are okay; and we have hope now that we will be able to do the same with our next trial/other trials. We also gain more hope in Christ, having experienced His power of grace that has led us through those trials – given us strength which we’ve borrowed to gain the victory in that thing.
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
We retain that hope (which we’ve gained), because it’s confirmed to us by feeling God’s love, which the Holy Ghost communicates to our hearts as we overcome these tribulations, comforting us and testifying to us that God loves us and knows us, and will continue to send us help through the power of His Son’s Atonement (which we experience through grace – the power to save, heal, and give us a space wherein we can act as mortal beings, imperfect and mistake-making, without final judgement or condemnation and its heavy weight – the weight of all our wrongs and weakness – bearing down on us).