Sunday, January 24, 2010

Troubling Times

Do we exalt, or exult in, our troubles?
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. Romans 5:3,4 NAS
That’s the verse as it should be; I didn’t refer to it correctly in my first post. I typed in the word “exalt” instead of “exult”.

But both the verse and the error challenge us. How many people did I invite to my last pity party? Do I tell my troubles over and over, gaining sympathy but actually exalting those troubles and their power over me?

–verb (used with object)
1. to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.; elevate: He was exalted to the position of president.
2. to praise; extol: to exalt someone to the skies.
3. to stimulate, as the imagination.
4. to intensify, as a color.
5. Obsolete. to elate, as with pride or joy.

Likewise, I don’t intend to praise the work of evil in my life – certainly not “to the skies”. Nor do I mean to stimulate evil imaginations to further trouble; nor to intensify trouble’s effect. And it would be all too ironic to elate my enemy, when it was God’s intention that I be an heir to true joy.

–verb (used without object)
1. to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant: They exulted over their victory.
2. Obsolete. to leap, esp. for joy.
1. delight, glory, revel.

I don’t want to bypass the peace that follows releasing those troubles to God, and I don’t want to bypass the joy that comes from transformation by the Holy Spirit. Our troubles present opportunity, for God to lend His perseverance, His character, and hope in Him. It is an opportunity for victory.

When we could delight in the occasion to prove out God’s power in our lives, all to His glory; when we could choose to revel in the Word He has given us, instead of choosing to rebel by seeking false relief in complaining -- what a pity it is.

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