by Eden Bishop
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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
We often hear the term ‘toxic positivity’. This term describes unhelpful positivity, such as an obsession with trying to put a positive spin on all situations we might find ourselves in. If we aren’t careful, we can easily misuse this text in a way similar to toxic positivity. If a fellow Christian is having a hard time, it is all too easy to dismiss their struggles and say, ‘It’s all part of God’s plan to make your life better’.
What this text actually tells us is that having faith and the Holy Spirit transforms our lives and especially transforms suffering so that we can have peace. This text does not tell us to rejoice in suffering for suffering’s sake, but now that we have the Holy Spirit, God can bring good things out of suffering. We can take comfort in this fact. We now have hope for the future, whereas before, suffering was yet another unendurable part of existence.
Suffering no longer totally crushes us. If we have nothing else, we have the hope of a life with Jesus and God after death. We can take heart and comfort in knowing we have this to look forward to. That is why we, and Paul, can say that this hope will not put us to shame because Jesus has already conquered death. Jesus has suffered. He embraces us in his suffering, and suffering will not have the final say.
This is the peace that faith and the Holy Spirit bring: the benefit of being in a relationship with God.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for always being with us, even during difficult times. Thank you that Jesus suffered so that we can look forward to a future with you where there is no suffering. Amen.
Eden Bishop lives in Adelaide and is a member at St Paul Blair Athol. She attends the University of Adelaide and is in the final year of her Advanced Economics degree. Eden enjoys reading (particularly The Lord of the Rings), playing the piano in church, knitting and learning fun facts about dinosaurs.