Some people think you shouldn’t draw in your Bible, but I’m glad my daughter Melissa drew in hers. In the margin next to Romans 5, she used a green ink pen to draw a small, simple smiley face, and circled verse 3.

How could she have known that her family and friends would need this passage when she left us so suddenly in a car accident at age 17? How could she know that these verses would tell her story, while guiding our lives and the lives of others over the past 7 years?

Romans 5 begins by explaining our justification through faith, which gives us peace with God through Jesus (v.1). Melissa had that peace. And right now she is enjoying the fruits of her faith, as verse 2 describes: We “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Imagine the smiley face she could draw now!

And then there’s the rest of us—all of us left behind when loved ones precede us in death. Somehow, we “rejoice in our sufferings.” Why? Our suffering brings perseverance, which brings character, which brings us hope (vv.3-4).

We feel helpless in times of tragedy, but we are never hopeless. God pours His love into our hearts—and with it the great hope of His glory. It’s all part of God’s mysterious yet marvelous plan.