How God Strengthens Us

Have you ever been in a season of waiting? Maybe it was waiting for something to begin: waiting for a pregnancy, waiting for husband, waiting for a job.

Maybe it was waiting for something to end: waiting for sickness to be over, waiting for the anxiety to subside, waiting for the relationship to come crumbling down.

Maybe it was waiting on a promise.

Maybe it was just waiting for something ambiguous and arbitrary that you could not even place your finger upon.

Waiting tends to bring out our weakness. We grow impatient. We grow anxious.

We sometimes lose hope that anything will ever change at all, and if it does, it cannot possibly satisfy our needs.

A few thousand years ago, there was a people waiting for revelation. They were waiting for the Salvation of God’s people. You see, God had promised a Messiah, a Savior, to His people. He had promised redemption from their bondage. He had promised Abraham a line as numerous as the grains of sand in on the shore; He had promised that a man would be born from the line of David; He had promised that He would conquer evil in favor of His own children.

No one knew how this would happen. No one knew when. They just knew it would.

Then the promises stopped in their tracks. The prophets stopped bringing the Word of God to light. The hints of when and where and who the Messiah might be dissipated. There was silence, and that silence lasted centuries.

It was perhaps the longest and most agonizing period of waiting in all of history. God’sunnamed children were waiting for the conquering to begin, they were waiting for the persecution to end, and they were waiting for something that they did not know much about. There was an ambiguity to it.

A mystery.

So many grew hopeless as they awaited this mystery to be revealed. Then one night in a stable, the secret was disclosed to just a few who were strengthened through it: the Savior had come in the form of a human. The Savior was here to destroy sin and death.

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Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

(Romans 16:25–27 ESV)

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When God revealed the mystery of the Messiah, He brought strength to all who hear the story of His Son.

Over a period of four-hundred years, God’s people found despair in their past, in the sin that people had allowed into the world; they found anguish in the present, they had not heard from their God and did not know when they next would; they only found their strength and hope in the future, hope that their Messiah would soon come.

Today, God has given us the power to live very different, very hopeful lives.

Our strength comes from the past, present, and future. We find strength in the past, that Jesus came into the world and overcame death that we might have life; we find strength in the present, that His Holy Spirit lives within us, giving us the freedom to choose Christ in every decision over sin; and we find strength in the future, that Jesus will return and make all things new once more.

All this hope is possible. It has been given for our taking.

Yet we still find ourselves dejected in the midst of our world.

This world so often seems hopeless. Whether it is anxiety overtaking our hearts and making joy seem distant, becoming increasingly aware of racism that exists, or simply hearing of the death and wars that plague societies around us, there is always something within our grasp that sings of brokenness.

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No, there isn’t hope in sin. It’s mere existence destroys any hope this world might promise. Even so, because of Jesus, sin is not the end of the story. It is merely a chapter. The real story lies in eternity.

It lies in a triune God who existed before the foundation of this world. This Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loved one another before we existed. They loved us before we existed. They continue to love into the depths of eternity.

When we peel away the sin that plagues this world right now and remember that it’s the mere surface of eternity to come, we can have hope despite our current season of waiting: waiting for a person to provide, waiting for pain to cease, waiting for true love to win.

We have hope that the most perfect Person already provided. That pain will be commanded to cease. That love already won.

But peeling back that layer of sin takes discipline. It takes intentionality. It takes a will to…

Preach the Gospel to ourselves over and over.

Sing praises that emulate truth.

Fill our hearts and minds with devotion to the Scriptures.

Read books that spur our souls toward Him.

Surround ourselves with His children.

Speak of the joy of being His child.

Rejoice that the mystery has been revealed and revel in that mystery.

Revel in the Gospel.

After all, it is the Gospel through which He brings us strength.

God gave us this saving story that we might have hope as we wait for His return. He gave us His Word that we might be able to preach it to ourselves again and again. He gave us multiple accounts. He gave us pastors and teachers who want to shepherd us under that Gospel.

Without filling our hearts and minds with the Gospel, we cannot expect to find hope.

Everything we do, everywhere we go, every goal we make apart from Him is tainted in sin. It can seem so pure, but it will fall apart without His blessing.

So let’s bing the Gospel into every aspect of our waiting. Let’s bring the hope of the Gospel into our work, seeking to let everything be done to glorify God.

Let’s bring the Gospel into our marriages, seeking to love our serve and love as the bridegroom of Christ.

Let’s bring the Gospel into our parenting, seeking to raise up children who will be cross carrying members of this broken society.

Let’s bring the Gospel into our friendships, sharing its hope to all we love no matter what part of our pride it threatens.

This is how we will be strengthened. This is how He intended to grant us fortitude. He intends to strengthen us just as He intended to strengthen a group of Jews and Gentiles living under the persecution of a Roman empire a couple thousand years ago. Our God knew that as Paul wrote to these, we would also read these words in the midst of our lives. He wrote to the doubts we are having, He wrote to the pain we are experiencing. He wrote to the sin with which we are struggling so violently.

He wrote to a group of Roman citizens. and He also wrote to us in our weaknesses. He died for Jews and Gentiles both here and there, then and now. Let us rest our hopelessness in the strength of His resurrection.

May the Lord remind us that this world is fleeting. May the Lord hold us in the midst of whatever storm we are weathering, whatever waiting we endure. May the Lord grant us joy that only He can produce.

May the Lord strengthen us in the Gospel alone.

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How can we be sure to preach the Gospel to ourselves over and over again this week? Share it in the comments below.

To continue going through Romans with us, read the following verses this week.

Romans Series Reading Plan:
Monday: Romans 15:1-7
Tuesday: Romans 15:8-21
Wednesday: Romans 15:22-33
Thursday: Romans 16:1-16
Friday: Romans 16:17-23
Saturday: Romans 16:25-27

If you are just now joining us in this study of Romans, be sure to check out the first five weeks! Week 1Week 2, Week 3Week 4Week 5, Week 6, and Week 7

You can either catch up with us or go at your own pace. This explanation of how to study the Bible might also be helpful. Thank you for joining. Please let me know how God has worked in your heart in the comments below.

In Christ alone,

Lauren

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