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Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 

3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 

7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  10 For if while we were enemies  we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  11 And  not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.  NAS

Here is a very important reassurance from God for those of us who have anxiety disorders:  any suffering we encounter will produce GOOD THINGS.

Now, we have spent a lot of our lives trying to reduce our suffering.  The thing is that all humans suffer.  We cannot escape suffering of some sort.  Even when trying to protect ourselves, we have actually made things worse.  We might never get into a car accident, but we lived every day as if we did.  We might never lose every belonging, but we lived every day in the fear of such.  Our lives might have been filled with blessings, except we shunned them for the “what if” and lived our fears over and over again in our heads.  We are the epitome of “ A coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave die but one”.  In our heads we imagine horrible things that bring us grief and sorrow.  We have lost our kids, our health, our spouses, our honor, our home, our peace and our joy in our heads every single day, over and over again, sometimes for years.

And the worst part is that our suffering was fruitless!  Obsessing, stressing every day for years did nothing at all for us.  Period.  It stole our joy, our peace.  It made us weak and lazy.  It damaged our health, our relationships, and our very souls.  We might never suffer the loss we fear, but we lived each day as if we did.  We mourned but there was nothing to mourn!  We feared but there was nothing to fear!

The Lord promises that we will rejoice in our sufferings, when He is our focus, because we know that suffering produces fruit of hope and that that hope will not disappoint.  Now, at this point, this verse might be scary.  You have spent a lot of time fighting suffering.  You might be afraid that the Lord will say “HA!  Now I can teach you to suffer!!!”.  No!  That is not the point of this at all!  That is a lie of the devil.  The Lord is not about to punish you for obeying Him. You are His dear child.

What He is promising is that, when you are justified through faith, the future holds no threat for you.  There is no dread because you know that even if something bad happens, He has allowed there to be a blessing in it.

Bad things sometimes happen whether we stress about them or not.  Remember, our “stupidstitions” actually do nothing to save us.  We never did have power over “bad things”.  Our counting cannot prevent a car accident.  Our obsessive washing can’t prevent cancer.  Our repetitive thoughts can’t keep a mugger at bay.

We had a plastic  sword of compulsions and anxieties that made us FEEL safer, but did nothing at all to actually make us safer.  When we have the Lord, we have the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  THAT is a real sword.

So do not be afraid, you who are loved by God (yes you!).  Accept the Lord’s blessing and know that, while all people suffer at times, it is those of us who have the Lord whose suffering is not useless or in vain.  It is a promise and a blessing in hard times of our lives.

 

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