Monday, May 13, 2013

A Different Question

As I listened to my pastor read from Romans 5 this past Sunday, I thought through why I really like this verse. I mean, rejoicing in suffering? It doesn't seem like the greatest verse... It assumes that we will suffer, and suffering sucks. But I've been learning a lot about different perspectives lately and I think that's why this verse really sticks in my heart right now.

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5 ESV). 

When we are faced with hard situations, I think that, as humans, the first thing that we ask is "where are You, God?" I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I think that it can diminish the idea of what suffering is. Metal needs to be put into the fire before it can be bent into a beautiful shape, and we need suffering to be shaped into who God wants us to be. I think that a better question when we are faced with hard times is "God, what are You teaching me through this?

Having a different perspective on your situation can make all the difference. Instead of seeing suffering as a place where God has deserted you, try looking into the heart of the matter. God is in the business of changing hearts. As the famous saying goes, "God loves you just as you are, and too much to keep you that way." 

I love the way the Message portrays these same verses in Romans:

"There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

This week, take a moment to see your situation through a different set of eyes. God will never leave you or forsake you, and He has a purpose for every breath you take. 

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