I gotta admit it, most of the time I’m a quick fix, “bottom line” kinda guy. I want to cut to the chase. I want things fixed NOW! Even in my own spiritual maturity, I just want to be fully sanctified already…knowing what to do in each situation, conducting myself with perfect poise and grace, and leading folks to the Lord with heart slicing tidbits in under 30 seconds.
The Bible contradicts my own immature view of this, and although I’ve read this passage 1,245 times it didn’t hit me like the ton of bricks that hit me as I was reading it waiting for my flight home at gate B3 of the lovely Chicago O’Hare airport, where I wasn’t sure if I handled some situations the best way I should have…
1(A) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,(B) we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also(C) obtained access by faith[b] into this grace(D) in which we stand, and(E) we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we(F) rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering(G) produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and(H) hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love(I) has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In these verses is a formula (if you will…), but the formula is a paradox – it’s not a quick fix, bottom line formula. It’s a slow cooker. As I’ve heard it said, “God is not in the microwave business, he prefers crock pots.” So, it directly contradicts my stubborn pride of wanting to master every situation immediately. Instead, I will learn to have the constant, unmoveable, unshakeable, “master of situations” hope how? By going thru lots of sufferings. GREEEAAAT. That sounds like it will take time. I don’t have time. I’m an American. From New Jersey no less, can we get this MOVING?!? Not what I wanted to hear, but God’s word is true and I must submit.
Normally the “Message” Bible gives me heartburn, but I really like the way they say James 1:2-5 when it reads “dont’ try to get out of anything prematurely” —
2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
“Let it do it’s work…” = that suffering thing again. Slow cooking. (or as Cross Movement says “slow roasting”). That’s how we become mature and complete. No bottom lines. Dang.
These are just a few of great scriptures to pray thru in our walk (not RUN) with our Lord Jesus.