Thursday, November 17, 2005

Romans 5:1-5

I used to have coaches use the mantra, "No Pain, No Gain!" To a certain extent they were right. I needed to push myself just a little bit further each day so I could get stronger, so I could build my endurance. They were right. They were also wrong. Sometimes pain is your bodies way of telling you to stop, "No Mas!" Pain alerts you to injuries or things that can be even more damaging.

In verse 3 Paul encourages us to rejoice in our suffering. Perhaps this is even where, "No Pain, No Gain" started. In some ways this section sounds to me like a rehashing of the beatitudes. I hate when character is being built. It's usually painful and difficult. Yet, when all is said and done I'm grateful for the hope that it has produced.

So it seems when suffering, difficult times, come along in our life we do have a choice. We can ignore it or run away, but it's still there. We can fight it, but that seems only to irritate it and make the suffering worse. We can embrace it, like Paul encourages us and in so doing we find hope. So go ahead and embrace your suffering, and those who are suffering around you.

QUESTIONS: How do we embrace our suffering while avoiding to seek suffering? (I think there are those who read a passage like this and then try and find ways to suffer. I don't think that is what Paul is encouraging.) How do you tell the difference, especially in the heat of the moment, between a good suffering (pain) and a bad suffering (pain)? Where have you seen suffering produce endurance produce character produce hope in your life?

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