Paul reveals in Romans 5:3-5 that though we would not willingly choose to suffer, our trials do have a purpose. He declares that we can “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us….”
God has a purpose, even in our pain; and that’s something worth rejoicing about! From the very beginning of my journey with Christ I have seen this principle of perseverance producing character and hope, to be true. My husband and I battled nine years with infertility. It was only when we reached the point of being willing to trust the Lord whether He gave us children or not, that I was suddenly pregnant! It was not an easy pregnancy however, and I ended up being confined to bed for much of it. Over the last few months I was in hospital much of the time; and though I believed that God could heal me, it seemed He chose not to. I couldn’t understand his purposes, but I continued to read my Bible every day; and it was then I noticed a Scripture I had never seen before in the Psalms.
Remembering God’s mighty works in the past, the Psalmist recalls in Psalm 77 how God lead His people out of slavery to the promised land by way of the Red Sea. In verse 17 he declares of God: “Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters though Your footprints were not seen”.
As I sat in my hospital bed, I understood for the very first time what it took for God’s people to persevere — to continue to follow Him despite their circumstances! Surely when faced with that obstacle of the Red Sea, theywould’ve preferred a boat, a bridge, any way around — but God told them they were to “go through” the sea despite the fact that God’s footprints were not seen going on ahead of them! I realized that though my life did not look the way I had hoped, my trust in God’s faithfulness was not misplaced! He would see me through whatever lay ahead if I chose to follow Him by faith and not by sight. Like the Israelites, I believed He would give me a testimony of His goodness once I was out the other side!
Our baby was born by emergency C-Section five weeks early, weighing just less than four pounds, around 1.6kg; but he was safe, for which I am very grateful. I know that not all other stories have the happy ending mine did; but I do know that if we would but persevere in our walk with the Lord no matter what happens, He can use even the most trying times for our good. He will use them to give us a greater understanding of His love. He will build our character, making us more like Jesus; and He will give us a testimony that can be shared with others to bring them hope!
If you are feeling discouraged, if you cannot discern God’s footprints going on ahead of you right now, do not lose heart! When our hope is in Christ, we will not be disappointed for as Paul also taught: “… our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
May God bless you