Let’s Make a Big Deal

June 1, 2021

2 We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:2-5

Written by Karla Worley from the Brentwood Campus

How does a believer respond to suffering and trouble? This should be one of the things that distinguishes us from those who don’t belong to Christ. Because, as Jesus said, in this world we will have trouble.

In trouble, what do I make a big deal of? What do I talk about, rehearse and nurse? Do I mostly dwell on the trouble, my feelings and fears, my questions? Or do I dwell on and make a big deal of God’s love and His presence and power with me and in me in the trouble? Do I make a big deal of the hope I have for the future and the help I have in the present?

Here Paul says when we run into trouble, we can “rejoice.” What? Must we deny that we hurt or fear, just keep talking positively? Look closer at the word Paul uses. The Greek word used here means “boast.” Paul’s readers would have known what he meant by this word picture. In ancient Roman times, boasting was something everyone learned to do: to make speeches making a big deal of something or someone. Picture a big feast, and each person at the table takes turns raising a glass and boasting about someone. We often do this at weddings and celebrations; we speak well of a person to the people who are gathered.

This is the picture Paul paints for us. We may be sitting at the table of suffering, but we don’t go on and on about the suffering. Instead we boast about God—about His presence and power with and in us. About our hope for the future and our help in the present.

In these verses, Paul does exactly that: he boasts, enumerating all the things God has done for us in Jesus, how we have been given access to His grace, and all its privileges and benefits. These include the hope of a glorious future, as well as help in the present through endurance, character and hope. And most of all, we have God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

All of us are either at the table of suffering, or sitting down to it, or getting up from it. What are we talking about as we do this—the weight of our troubles or the goodness of our God?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How has this passage challenged you?
  2. In what area right now do you face trouble or suffering? How do you talk about it with others? What do you dwell on?
  3. What benefits can you think of that you have in this situation because you have access to God through Jesus? Benefits for now, and benefits for the future? Which of these do you count on the most?
  4. How do you need to pray? Do you need to confess how much you’ve dwelt on your troubles or your feelings and fears? Do you have things to ask God for? Do you have things to thank God for?

Missions Prayer
Several of our global partners minister directly by providing clean water, in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Pray for the people who drink the clean water will thirst spiritually, and for our partners to have opportunity to introduce them to Jesus, who offers Living Water.