A few days ago I started reading the book of Romans in the Bible, Lord. I'm in chapter 5. I love those opening verses. They say, "We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." and that "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." I don't really understand how that works, Lord. But I know it's true because I've experience it in my own life.
The meager suffering I've done in my life has taught me to persevere. To keep on keeping on. To tuck my chin, lower my head, & bulldoze on through whatever the difficulty might be.
And that perseverance has developed character in me. I can see my family now, laughing & saying, "Yea. You're quite a character alright, Jean!" But that's not what I mean, Lord.
Looking back over the 40 years since I accepted Jesus as my Savior I can see how You've been sculpting godly character in me. I can also see that I have a long way to go before I'm an exact replica of Christ. But I can see the marks of Your sculpting tools on me, Lord.
Somehow, that godly sculpting produces hope inside me. Hope in my forever future with You in Heaven, yes. But, also, hope in this life - that it isn't all bad. Hope that the marks I'll leave behind after I'm dead will be good marks. They'll be more than just footprints in the beach that will be washed away by the next tide. Hope that they will be trail markers that will point the way to Jesus & salvation, & to hope, for those who pass through this life behind me.
That character You are working in me also gives me hope that my brief journey on this earth won't be just a consumption of oxygen. That my life will have had meaning & purpose.
Romans 5:5 says "hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts..." That enormous & extravagant love You have for me makes everything here worth while. Thank You.
Suffering. Perseverance. Character. Hope. And it all goes back to My love for you. That is what gives your life purpose, Little One. I created you so that I could love you, and you could love Me. All the other stuff in life is simply to bring you back home to Me.