Regina Yoder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
October 20, 2014 12:49 a.m.
The oddest thing happened to me today. As I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, putting on my makeup, I happened to look up and notice the index card with a verse on it that I had taped up there months ago after I had memorized it. I’ve read the verse nearly a hundred times before, but for the first time today, I understood it. How is that even possible? The verse was Romans 5:1-5 and even though I know it by heart, I never really knew what it said. It was just a bunch of words that sounded good and made logical sense, and I believed them to be true, but now since I’ve experienced Jesus in a new way and understand what grace really is, suddenly the words of the verse made sense to me. “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” They are just words….until I had the opportunity to experience that justification that replaced the awful weight of my sin and replaced it with His sweet peace that I can’t even begin to describe. Now I get it! The peace is mine because I’m justified. The pain in my chest is gone and sin no longer has a pull on me, because I am standing smack dab in the middle of Jesus arms surrounded by His amazing grace.
After processing that first verse, I kept reading…..”Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Again, it’s just words until I realize that this fresh dose of grace that Jesus extends to me each and every day is such an incredible gift that allows me the joy of HOPE. That’s huge! My heart breaks for the sea of faces I see around me every day that reflect hearts that have no hope. I want to tell them about this grace that I never knew before, and am just beginning to understand. I’m so amazed at how patient Jesus is with me as I learn and process the truths He wants me to know. My mind goes to the times I’ve tried to comprehend the height, depth, width, and length of His Love…..and I can’t wrap my head around it. Oh, but I’m so grateful for it, and I rejoice in it.
Then my eyes wandered back to the index card with the verses and I read on….”Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who He has given us.” The last couple of days I’ve been asking Jesus to show me ways that I can bring pleasure to Him. Then I read the devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young and it said that the praise we give during a time of suffering has greater significance to Jesus than praise given during times of ease and comfort. That changes the way I view suffering. According to the verse I just read, suffering leads to perseverance, and then character and then hope….which in the end isn’t just hopeful, it’s a sure thing that won’t disappoint us because of the certainty of God’s love for us. I know that when suffering comes, I have a choice to surrender to His process in my life or become bitter about it, but when I look at the promise of hope in the end, it makes it easier to fix my eyes on Jesus, lean in closer to His embrace, and praise Him regardless of my circumstances. That’s not easy, but the peace in that decision is incredible.
But that brings me back to the question, how is it possible that I’ve read that verse so many times, but never understood what it said until now? It’s like I read it for the first time this morning, and the beauty of it’s truth gave me such comfort in the middle of the circumstances I find myself. I can rejoice because my circumstances are producing perseverance, character and hope in me, and my praise in the midst of this difficulty brings joy to the heart of Jesus. What more could I ask for? If I ever come whining to you about the difficult stuff I’m dealing with, please remind me of this truth. Will you? I’m so grateful to have you in my life to walk with me through this learning process. I’ve got so far to go.
I look forward to your reply.
Love you always,
to: Regina Yoder <email@example.com>
October 20, 9:30 a.m.
It’s exciting to hear about the truth that God is showing you. It’s so neat how the Holy Spirit reveals things to us in fresh new ways when we’re ready to hear it and we’re open to His leading. Do you remember the sermon we heard a couple of Sunday’s ago when Pastor Doug talked about our inability to understand scripture on our own? The gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is so significant in being able to discern what scripture is saying. Even in Luke, he comes right out and says “Then He (Jesus) opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”. It’s His Spirit in us that allows us to understand what we read.
The things you’re experiencing right now as you learn about God’s grace in a fresh new way also sheds new light on the truth of the scripture. Just be careful that you allow scripture to bring understanding to your experience and not try to interpret scripture based solely on your experience. Does that make sense? Sometimes it’s easy to interpret scripture based on our experience and that’s not always good. It’s important to ask God for wisdom and discernment as you dig deeper into His Word and learn His truths for your life. It’s so exciting to see the Bible come alive for you. I love when that happens. Keep telling me the stuff you learn, it’s refreshing.
I hope your day is awesome.
Because of Him,