Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Have a Flood of God-love

Tupelo Tornado, 2014

I continued my reading in Romans this morning and came to this passage, which I memorized as a young girl. 

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5 NASB

This word, exult, is kauchaomai, and means to "glory in" or "rejoice in". This concept is so foreign to our culture that we would do well to consider it. We might say, "We rejoice because of our troubles and trials." 

Right. Who rejoices because of the trouble we face? 

Not many of us, but there is good reason to exult in trouble. Paul tells us that we are to rejoice because tribulation teaches us to endure and endurance brings about proven character. The proving of our character brings about hope. Hope, he says, never disappoints because of the love of God.

Rejoicing in our troubles begins a cascade of good into our lives that ends in the love of God flooding into our hearts.

The Tornado of 2014 brought about considerable devastation in our area. We wept over the terrible destruction, but we rejoiced, as well. Although "stuff" was lost, there was only one death. That which mattered most was preserved, and we celebrated that face. Before long,  a flood of God-love poured out through His people. 

You, like me, may find grumbling much easier than gratitude, but grumbling is not the path to blessing. 

Instead of whining and complaining about the difficulties in our lives, we are to thank God and rejoice because of what He will do through those difficulties. We can glory in them because we know He will use those trials to make us more like Him. 

Rejoicing in tribulation is not easy, but it opens up an opportunity for great blessing. 

I am speaking of the difficulties that come through no fault of our own. Those difficulties that come as a consequence of our own behavior and poor choices are also a source of rejoicing if we allow God to use them to change our behavior and refine us.

In a way, it is a great blessing to endure hard times because of the flood of God-love that is sure to follow.

I look back on every hard time, every loss I've ever faced. It was hard to give thanks in the midst of those times, but now I can see the hand of God at every juncture and the love of God carrying me through. He used the trial to make me more like Him. 

Are you going through a hard time? Take heart, dear ones, and rejoice, for when you do, you can be sure a flood of God-love is on its way. What could be better than that? Absolutely nothing.
Thank you, God, for the hard times. Thank you for how you will bring us through, how you will change us because of them, how your love will be evident. In Jesus' name, Amen.

#loveofGod #rejoice #tribulation #JesusChrist #disciple

In case you missed the most recent posts, here are the links: The Costly Bad AttitudeGoing Home, and Still a Sinner

The most-read post of the past week: Death is Not the End