“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens or confident hope of salvation. And this is hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” — Romans 5:3-4
Years ago a railroad clerk received a box addressed to a jeweler. He contacted the jeweler and the jeweler said, “That is a box of watches. The Christmas season is over and I don’t want them.” Confused, he called the distributor and asked what he should do. The distributor refused to take them back.
While wondering what to do with the watches, he began to examine each of them carefully. Suddenly an idea came to him: Why not send pictures of the watches
to other railroad clerks to see if they wanted to buy one.
His idea was such a success that he decided to order more watches. Eventually it took more than one page, then a few more and finally a catalog was born.
The name of the clerk was Richard Warren Sears. He soon added a partner and the name of the catalog became Sears, Roebuck and Company. He turned an obstacle into an empire.
Paul challenged the Roman Christians to think of their obstacles as opportunities. He knew that problems were divine pathways to growth and godliness. Their approach and attitude to the hardships they were facing were critical in their ability to survive and thrive.
Even though the growth process for Christians begins with problems it doesn’t dwell on them. Trials produce endurance. Facing trials with tenacity requires endurance.
Endurance, Paul said, leads to character. Character is the foundation on which Christian growth takes place. Remember: God is more concerned with our character than He is with our comfort.
Character leads us to a confident hope of salvation. Assurance becomes a reality. In such an unsure world, confident hope makes us peculiar. Assurance can be wrongly interpreted as strangeness or arrogance on the part of those who do not possess it.
Confident hope leads to an un-disappointed life. This is a joy-filled, love-filled life. It becomes so obvious that the mark of maturity in the Christian life is love. The Holy Spirit comes to fill our hearts with love (verse 5).
It may be that you are facing what seems to be an insurmountable mountain in your life. If so, take comfort. You are not alone. God is with you. And though your strength may be small, God is great and the work He is doing in your life is great also. Place your problem in His hands, open your heart to His understanding and He will turn your setback into a success, and your trial will
become a triumph!