Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Steady Hope

We can be full of joy here and now 
even in our trials and troubles. 
Taken in the right spirit, 
these very things will give us patient endurance; 
this in turn will develop a mature character, 
and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, 
a hope that will never disappoint us. 
Romans 5
If there is one thing lacking in culture today, 
it is men and women of mature character.
The good news of the Gospel 
is that God will use every trial we face 
to develop mature character in us--
if we will recognize His goodness in the trial.
The Greek word for trials is thlipsis, meaning pressure.
It refers to the pressure used 
to squeeze oil from an olive or wine from a grape.
Those pressures can be painfully hard, 
or the pressure that life brings in the day to day.
Paul says that we can be full of joy in the midst of pressure.
"Taken in the right spirit," these things train us.
What is the right spirit?
The willingness to say, 
"I trust You, Lord."
I usually don't see that pressure
is producing mature character. 
I often feel pain or frustration.
I want to get better at seeing His perspective,
and respond with trust in His goodness.
I want character that is mature,
able to bear the weight of His favor. 
I want a steady hope that will never disappoint. 
Summer days in sunny places are glorious;
but those days are not my greatest growth days.
Lord, I am grateful for every day that You have walked with me
in hard places and challenging times.
You have been so good to me.
By Your great mercy and grace, 
I ask that the pressings of my life
bless Your name and bring You glory.

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