Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tribulation: the back door to HOPE

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Romans 5:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5

Tribulation. Even the word is enough to make me squirmy. I've read enough tribulation stories to know I don't want it and wouldn't voluntarily choose it even to gain the noble qualities of perseverance and character.

And yet, if we think of it, tribulation (a condition of affliction and distress, suffering, also that which causes it) comes to us all. Just last night I got word of the death of a cousin, only four years older than I am, who finally succumbed to cancer. This after literally years of treatments, fighting to live through the ravages of chemo, discomfort, pain. No, it may not be exactly the kind of tribulation Paul is talking about here, but it's tribulation nonetheless. As we grow older we see ever more clearly that tribulation of one kind or another is either upon us or surely just around the corner.

Whatever the source of our tribulation, we can resist the natural tendency to sink into despair because, as Paul reminds us here, we have hope: "A confident expectation in things beyond this world" (definition of "Hope" from my Thompson Chain Bible).

Hope's source is the Scripture. It is the lasting quality or feeling  that helps us believe the promises of God even when we don't yet see them coming true. It is so real that it impacts the way we live life here and now. Its presence in our lives even makes us an inspiration and encouragement to others.

I must say, after reviewing all that, I'm feeling better every minute about tribulation!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that You work difficult things into the fabric of my life for good. Help me to turn the lessons of tribulation into perseverance and character because of the HOPE (confident expectation in things beyond this world) that You (Holy Spirit) plant and grow in my heart. Amen.


"Take the Shackles Off My Feet So I Can Dance" ('hood version)

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:50 AM

    Oh yeah! "Take those shackles off my feet so I can dance ... I just wanna' praise Him!" -E.


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