- rejoices in suffering
- suffers while persevering
- allows perseverance to develop character
- gets hope through character
- knows that hope does not disappoint
I've thought a lot about how hard it is to go down this path of life, full of enormous challenges, and not let myself say, "If only..." OR to look to the future and not be discouraged. I went to, my daughter-in-love, Jacqueline's blog the other day and she had changed the words in her header to read, "Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path to joy." Ah, yes! That sounds like another take on "Keep rejoicing as you persevere in your suffering!".
Dan, had another take on this concept yesterday morning. Steve always begins his sermons with "God Is Good All The Time..." and the congregation responds "...And All The Time God Is Good." Yesterday, was Dan's turn to preach (they each preach half the sermons each year at our Sunday morning church services). Dan began his sermon the way that Steve usually does. In fact, Dan's whole sermon was about G.I.G.A.T.T.A.A.T.T.G.I.G.
Dan listed a bunch of really rough stuff that the people in our church family have gone through... deaths, divorce, chronic illness, cancer, loss of finances, loss of homes... he confessed the times that he could not say GIGATTAATTGIG. He kept us focused on Romans 8:28
- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. "
Dan emphasized that God is good ALL the time, it doesn't say that everything in a christian's life is good. In fact, if we connect this verse with our scipture for this month, we can see that for those who love God, it is in the journey of suffering and perseverance and character building that the working for good and hope prevails.
One of Dan's illustrations was a ruler and a yardstick. We get discouraged because we only see things from our perspective and not from God's. The ruler represented a person's life from birth to physical death. The yardstick (with infinite arrows on both ends) represented God's life/perspective.
Today, as I consider God's good and much bigger perspective, I recommit to joyfully persevere in suffering as I believe that GIGATTAATTGIG. I imagine myself standing at the foot of the cross as I let His blood drip down on me. I sing "I stand in awe of You, Jesus. I stand in awe of You! I'll let my words be few... Jesus, I am so in love with You."
Thank you, Jesus for:
- counting it great joy to suffer for me
- persevering through sneers, tauntings, floggings, crucifiction...
- displaying the depth of your character by not giving in to the evil one
- desiring for things to work out for good for my family and me...
- living so that I can have a hope and a future
- loving me, in spite of me