Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Love the Book of Romans

I love the book of Romans - I just love it; so much “meat”; so much “practical living” and so much encouragement - I do truly love to read it.

This morning as I was reading Romans 5, I came to verse 3 and it practically jumped off the page at me. I had just read in verse 1 and 2, “…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

And then I came to verse 3, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings…” and then it goes on to teach the progression that says “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance produces character; and character, hope…

But that phrase “we also rejoice in our sufferings…” really grabbed my attention. “Rejoice in our sufferings????” Why in the world would one “rejoice” in sufferings?

First of all it is the “will of God” as we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we are to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; and to always give thanks in everything for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

But since when do we always “do” the will of God?

The scripture reminded me of a song I hear occasionally on Christian radio - “Bring the Rain.” The chorus of the song says:
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain…

We often say (only half jokingly) “Don’t pray for patience, God will put you in a situation to cause you to cultivate patience.”

There have even been times when I said, “I’m afraid to ask ‘how much more’. Instead I pray ‘when’s it gonna let up?’”

We’re afraid to say “Send me, Lord” because we’re afraid He will send us to some deep dark jungle somewhere.

But you know, if we really want our lives to reflect God’s Glory; if we really want to submit to Him; if we really trust Him, then we’ll know that whatever He does will be for our good and His Glory.

He won’t hurt us. He loves us, and even our “sufferings” can be cause for rejoicing.

God, through trembling hand and shaky voice, (and if I’m real honest) with my heart in my throat, I pray, “whatever is the thing that brings You Glory… that is my prayer…” Do with me, what You will…and may I cry out with Isaiah, “I heard the voice of the Lord, and I said, “here am I… send me…”

In Jesus’ Holy Name - Amen.



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