A Journey of Faith

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Romans 5:3-5

The following is something I wrote a few weeks ago. One of the Bible studies I am doing is made for Lent, and the topic for the week was Restlessness, and we were suppose to read Romans 5:1-2, and I got a little carried away and read thru verse 5, and then started thinking. And thinking, and thinking. This is where I went...

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perserverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because GOD has poured out HIS love into our hearts by the HOLY SPIRIT, which HE has given us." Romans 5:3-5

This makes me think of a math curriculum I looked at for the kids once. It used a 'spiral' aproach to teaching and mastering math skills. The child would learn an new skill, practice it, then learn a new skill while still practicing the first. New skills would keep being added while still practicing the previous ones.
I think sometimes we forget that our faith is not a straight journey, but more of an ever-climbing spiral towards GOD. We want to believe, and experience, that once we have done the suffering, we move onto perserverance. And because we have 'done' perserverance, we now have character. And if we now have character, we get hope-like it's the grand prize in the race we have just completed. We imagine that along this race our suffering has disappeared, fallen off like a discarded sweater on a warm day. We want to have no more pain, or worries or fears-after all, we have completed the equation right? But it isn't that easy. There is a lot of suffering in this sinful world. Each time we experience it we have to make a choice. Do we cower in fear, wallow in our misery, see our suffering as divine confirmation that we are unworthy of healing? Or do we grab ahold of the peace and grace and strength HE has freely and lovingly given us? It is so easy to see suffering, especially prolonged suffering, as unfair and unnecessary. We pray for healing that doesn't come, at least not in our timing, and think GOD has forgotten us, that surely HE has better things to do than listen to our whining. But HE says we are HIS precious, beloved children, and each one of us is important enough to HIM that HE even knows how many hairs are on our heads. I love my kids more than life, and I don't know how many hairs are on their heads. Goodness, I can't even keep up with how many foods they like!
The Bible says that 'all things work for good for those who love the LORD and are called according to HIS purpose.' Surely this goes for suffering too. Surely the GOD who created the Heavens and the Earth with HIS voice can work even our suffering for HIS good.
I think when we forget about, or can't see, GOD's providence, it is easy to become restless. It's easy to get sucked into thinking that we are doing something wrong and missing out on HIS will somehow. It's easy to fall for the lies of the enemy and believe that we are unloved, unworthy, even unsaved. But GOD says that we are sealed by HIS Holy Spirit, and that we are engraved on the palms of HIS hands, and that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We are HIS.

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