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November 6, 2019

Painful but Useful

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)

There are few passages in Scripture which, on the surface, appear more counterintuitive than the focal passage above. To rejoice, according to the dictionary, is to “feel or show great joy or delight.” To do so as a response to suffering would seem, to the secular mind, to be Illogical if not absurd. But to the one who is committed to growing in Christlikeness, trials are acknowledged as God’s primary means to effect that end. 

The Bible provides several examples of how God redeems suffering for the sanctification of His children. 

The Apostle Paul experienced trials in Asia that were so severe “we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” This happened, concluded Paul, to teach them “to rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

The Lord denied three pleas from Paul to remove a “thorn in his flesh,” given to keep him humble. God left it there to teach Paul that “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). 

The writer of Hebrews tells his readers to consider hardship as discipline. The purpose for discipline? “... that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:7, 10). 

If we were to choreograph our own lives, we would include in them no pain, no suffering, no adverse consequences to sin ... and we would therefore remain spiritual infants forever! Thankfully, we serve a sovereign God who loves us more than we love ourselves, and demonstrates His love by training us through adversity. 

Question: Do you seek God’s redemptive purposes for the adversity He allows into your life?

Challenge: Form a habit of reflecting on your hardship, asking Him, “Lord, what do you want me to learn from this experience?”

Prayer: Lord, I submit to the work you choose to do to transform me into Christ’s image. Train me in the way you deem best.

Arnie Knecht, Chapel Leaer -- Texas Air Hogs

Baseball Chapel
P.O. Box 10102
Largo, FL 33773

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