By: Elaine Willis
BIBLE TEXT: Romans 5:3-5
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.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: There’s a lot in these verses, but what I felt like the Lord wants me to hear today is the value of trials, testing, problems, tribulation… whatever you call it. It is valuable and does serve a purpose. I am and have been in transition for quite some time and believe many of you are with me in that. God is producing in us the things that are needed to continue the work of the Kingdom. Time is short and we must stand out as different in the world. If we do this right, we will have patience, perseverance, proven character, and most of all hope in a world that does not have much of any of this. They will know our God by our ability to stretch and grow through difficulties and by the overflow of love given to us by the Holy Spirit.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Stretching and growing. That doesn’t even sound good, but we will not be what we need to be for the Lord if we do not do it. A friend of mine put it this way and it stuck with me, so I will share it with you and hope that it blesses you as it did me. “God does not stretch us so that we snap, but rather to increase our reach, impact and effectiveness.” So go ahead and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. I dare you.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to be flexible and stretchable. I pray that I can move, change and grow with you in all circumstances. I thank you that you are moving me to a greater place with you and for you. I pray I will do it well and as completely as you need me to. Help me to develop perseverance and proven character which will help me to carry your hope and love. I praise you for every growth spurt, because I know I am becoming more of what you desire me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine and Jon Willis have been married over 21 years. They have two boys, Justus is 13 and Jordan is 8. The Willis family has lived in Mt. Juliet since 2003. Elaine has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in counseling. Elaine has counseled in many areas and settings. Her specialties are marriage, family, adolescents and trauma. Jon and Elaine currently own and operate the Mathnasium, math learning centers in Mt. Juliet and Hendersonville. Elaine is a licensed counselor in TN and will be ordained by Powerhouse Ministries on a trip to Israel in May of 2011.