Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Paul mentions the “glory of God” expressed in Jesus via resurrection from the dead – a glory we expect to share one day via the grace of God in Christ Jesus. But glory is coupled with “suffering” here, like the other half of the coin. Suffering and glory were understood to go together. This was an experiential reality for many of the early believers in Rome, something it would have been silly to deny. I’m not sure suffering is an expectation of many current Christians, myself included.
Do I have to endure ridicule from some people because of my beliefs? Sure I do. As a “pastor” people will sometimes direct their anger and frustration with God (or with the church) at me. This is true for many believers, not just pastors. Some people find my Christian beliefs to be quaint or misguided or just plain stupid. But I’ve never felt my life was in danger in these encounters. The same cannot be said for some Christians who are persecuted regularly, even this very day. I’ve had the privilege of meeting a small number of such Christians from other parts of the world. They are amazing servants of our Lord.
Lord Jesus today we lift up those Christian believers whose lives are in danger every single day they call upon your name. Send your angels to surround them, protect them, hold them in your care. And give me boldness when I too am challenged for your holy name, for it is in your name I pray. Amen.