Reflections: Romans 1:18

A Reflection on Trouble, Part 3

ReflectionsRomans 1:18 (ESV)
18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Hello, again! Welcome to part three in our reflection series on trouble and suffering. In the last two parts (part one and part two) we discussed that trouble can come to those who love God either through the very nature of their service to God or through the refining process that God puts his people through so that they are better able to serve him. Yet, as we all well know, not every person alive is a servant of Christ. Not nearly! In this reflection we will consider two more aspects of suffering: self-made suffering and suffering from God’s wrath.

In terms of suffering brought on ourselves there isn’t much to say, other than a warning not to place the blame for this suffering on God. An easy example would be to imagine a person who hit their head willfully on a wall. There is no one to blame for this pain except the person. The same would be true for an overly busy lifestyle, one that leads to stress upon stress because of the sheer amount of things to accomplish, clubs to attend and functions to prepare for. It is no ones fault but the person engaged in these activities that life is full of bother and worry. Do not blame God for these things.  I would encourage you, dear faithful one, to examine your life and see if there is suffering in your days that you are bring on yourself by holding onto things that ought to be let go of.

Now there is yet another type of suffering we bring on ourselves and that is the wrath of God. This is a bit more uncomfortable to speak of, but words must be said about it. God has several attributes that the Bible speaks of, some of them we like to talk about a lot. We talk about the love of God, the unending mercy of God and the grace of God. These are very positive and generally do not provoke much controversy. Yet there are other attributes that are much more challenging to us, the holiness of God, his justice and righteousness, his wrath and hatred towards sin. We have to deal with these just as much as with the ones that make us feel nice.

Because the nature of God is one that hates sin and cannot abide by those who willfully sin without repentance, Scripture tells us plainly that there will be suffering that comes to those who do such things. We can see this in the plagues brought upon Egypt, the plagues brought upon Israel when they turned from God, and in the narrative of judgement revealed in the Book of Revelation. Suffering is brought upon those who refuse to acknowledge God as their Father and who do not seek the shelter of forgiveness brought about the Jesus Christ, the Son. How much better to receive the suffering that comes from a righteous life to which the Father says “well done” than the suffering that leads to eternal death.

Prayer: Father, open my eyes that I might see the reason for the suffering that is in my life. Please put your finger on my heart so that I can see clearly Your will. Lord when I see others suffering because of their rejection of you, let me be bold enough to speak to them about Your grace and how to escape the wrath to come. Amen.