High Pressure Produce
Dear Faith Family,
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).
Last Friday began with a changing of the guard in the flower bed surrounding the maple tree in my front yard. The pansies had served their time and it was time. They checked out and the periwinkles (vinca) checked in.
Right in the middle of the changing of the guard, my neighbor came over with his new pressure washer in tow. After a short lesson and a handoff (of pressure washer, parts, and owners manual) I was off to the “washes”. Who knew that our house was actually white?! And did you know that the bricks on my front steps are actually red?! Who’d a “thunk” it?
Somewhere in my back yard I got to thinking about the sermon sac in my hand. Pressure washing is not unlike suffering. There are good things happening but it sure is painful. Let me explain.
First, let’s look at two specific words in Romans 5:3. Can you believe that Paul used the words “rejoice” and “sufferings” in the same sentence?! Rejoice means to boast, glory, exult. Sufferings include affliction, distress, and calamity. Why, on earth, would any of us want to rejoice in our sufferings?
Look again at verse three. It is carefully sandwiched between its rationale. On one side, verses one and two inform us that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Christ, there is no way to truly rejoice in our sufferings. In Christ, alone, sufferings can actually become a stimulus package for joy. How so?
Glad you asked. On the other side of verse three, verses four and five help us to understand that sufferings produce something valuable. Consider the produce: endurance, character, and hope! Be honest, we like the produce. We’re just not fond of the vehicle delivering the produce.
Last Friday I held a “pressure” washer in my hands. I like that my house is white again. I like that you can actually see the color of the bricks on my front steps. Truth be known? I’d rather apply that pressure to my house than to me. My house and front steps are still recovering.
So, what’s the pressure being applied in your life? What’s the affliction, distress, or calamity? (See, I don’t even like to say the word “sufferings”.) In Christ, you have peace with God. Even when you don’t “feel it”, rejoice in the truth of your peace with God through Jesus Christ your Lord.
And, when you feel the pressure, know that the produce is worth the pressure. Rejoice in your sufferings. God is up to something good.
In His love,