Oct 4, 2015 - Rev Matt Tuggle
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We had such a great morning in The Chapel yesterday! We just wrapped up the Hello Hurricane series. If you missed any of those sermons (or want to watch again), you can find them all here. This week, we’ll start a series called Relationshifts: A look at how modern culture is affecting our connection, communication, and expectations. We hope to see you there!
Recap- Hello Hurricane: The Wake
Coming out of the storm can be a time of deep suffering. Romans 5 says this of suffering: we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
I think we’d all like to jump as quickly as possible from suffering to hope, but that isn’t how it works.
The first step is from suffering to endurance. There is a shift that happens in this step: we move from an “I” mentality to a “we” mentality. Moving from suffering to endurance is recognizing that you alone can’t do it, but with God, you can.
The next step is endurance to character. Suffering is something that happens to you, endurance is something you do, but character is something you are. Eventually the things that we do affect who we are. If you play soccer one time, that is something you did. But if you play soccer every week, you are a soccer player. Once we’ve actively endured long enough, who we are begins to transform.
Finally, character produces hope. This doesn’t always mean hope in our own life. Often times the hope that comes out of our suffering is hope in someone else’s life. When someone sees the storm hit, watches you turn to the Lord and endure it, and sees how that has shaped your character, it gives them hope in their own life.
So, why do some people make it to hope and some don’t?
What it comes down to is whether or not you believe this line:
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
The hebrew word the psalmist uses for follow is radaf, and it is not the kind of follow we are thinking of. Radaf means heavy, even violent, pursuit. It is often used in the bible to describe someone vengefully pursuing an enemy.
So when he says goodness and mercy will follow him, he doesn’t mean like ducks following their mom across the street. He is saying surely goodness and mercy will intensely pursue him all the days of his life.
The difference between getting bitter and getting better after a storm comes down to whether or not you believe that the Lord is constantly pursuing us with goodness and mercy. This doesn’t mean the bad won’t come; we know it will. It means that, even in the midst of the storm, you believe that the Lord is still pursuing you and wants good for you.
If you believe this about the Lord, you will be able to live in the presence of the Lord before, during, and after the storm. If you believe this about the Lord, you will be able to move through the progression of suffering (to endurance to character) to hope with him.
For the next week, at the end of each day, reflect on times when you think goodness and mercy were pursuing you.
Tuesday: Genesis 2:1-4
Wednesday: Genesis 2:5-9
Thursday: Genesis 2:10-17
Friday: Genesis 2:18-25