Monday, February 15, 2010

The Hope of Suffering

In more than one place the Bible calls suffering Christians to rejoice. Sounds strange to our ears, huh? It almost sounds illogical. It is not a call to go out and seek suffering because you are a glutton for punishment, but it is a call to properly face suffering realizing that there is good to be found in it.

The logic is found when we read passages such as this in Romans 5, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The writer of this passage, the Apostle Paul, does not get very specific when he speaks of suffering in this passage and we are left to understand that he is referring to a wide range of suffering. Most likely if you are breathing, there is some area in your life that brings you suffering. Let’s think about these characteristics that Paul mentions and think about his words of encouragement. His list includes endurance, character, hope and God’s love.

How many problems are you enduring today that are bigger than the problems you endured a few years ago? Our life is progressive. As we grow and age our problems become more complex. God brings suffering into our lives to help us deal with problems on all sorts of scales. When we pass the finish line of smaller problems our strength is built so we can face larger problems with more strength and wisdom. Can you find encouragement in knowing that you are being prepared today to endure what is around the bend?

Not only does God build endurance, He also desires to build character. Once we have endured smaller problems we should be able to handle future problems with a steadier hand. It is the person that is always prone to drama or the belief that the world is about to come to an end that shows they are not learning endurance and are, therefore, lacking character.

From character, hope is built. Once we know God is faithful and that He has given us the ability to endure we will view the world and our problems differently. Our attitudes ought to be one of encouragement even when life is hard. This hope is not built on simple positive thinking though, it is built on the truth that God has shown us great love. After all, it was through great suffering that God’s love is best demonstrated through the work of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

Problems will come your way. As you look upon them, what are you learning? Is your perspective one of finding true hope in God?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Protecting a Life

There is a magazine I look at often that charts the progress of babies as they grow in their mother’s womb. It is a fascinating magazine that tells of the process of the infant during the time of fetal development. It speaks of their brain and body development and even talks about when the baby starts hearing and recognizing sounds and voices outside of the womb. Even more, there are pictures that match the progress of the baby’s development in every month of the nine-month pregnancy process. It is simply an amazing miracle to see the baby grow and develop. I’m not sure how anyone can look at these pictures and come to any other conclusion than to realize this is a real person growing and developing inside their mother.

Over the years we have had a number of ultrasounds while my wife has been pregnant. Every one of those experiences has made a tremendous impact of me. From the time we hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time to the point we see the images of our baby just weeks before their delivery, the ultrasounds have brought tears to our eyes. Currently, the Kentucky General Assembly is considering a bill that would require mother’s seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound before they make their final decision on whether or not to abort their baby. The mother’s are not forced to view the ultrasound, but they would be required to have one. The bill is called SB 38. It has already passed the State Senate on January 25, and was sent to the House of Representative’s Health and Welfare Committee on February 1. This committee, made up of a 14 legislators, must approve the bill’s passage to the floor for a vote by the entire House. I am praying that it will come to a vote on the floor of the House and be passed. If you’re interested in knowing who is on the Health and Welfare Committee you can find out by going to

Most people I talk to want to know all of the facts before making a decision concerning a medical procedure. Shouldn’t pregnant women be given these facts before making the decision on whether or not to abort a baby? Perhaps you would say that the woman should not be forced to view an ultrasound if she doesn’t want to. Please remember, SB 38 calls for the ultrasound to take place, but not for the forcing of the woman to view it.

I must wonder, though, who speaks for the unborn? Obviously, a baby in utero cannot speak for itself. Perhaps this ultrasound would give this young life a voice while growing in its mother’s womb. House and Welfare Committee, thank you for your service to the Commonwealth. I’m praying that you will do all that is within your power to protect life.