This past Sunday I began a series that will take us through some of the life and the major passages of the Apostle Paul. During this fall series, we’ll let this intriguing leader of the early church speak to us today.
One of the aspects of Paul’s life that stand out is that it was difficult. Paul had a lot of trouble in his life. There are several passages in his writings and in the book of Acts that tell of his difficulties and suffering. To one degree or another, this is part of every life. We may wish that it were some other way. We may feel that the troubles we have are unfair. At some level we may believe that life is supposed to be without trouble or suffering. It is because of these wishes, feelings and beliefs that M. Scott Peck, is compelled to open his classic book The Road Less Travelled with a line that seems too obvious. It seems to go without saying. His opening sentence is only three words: “Life is difficult.” He goes on to write,
“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it . . . Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy . . . I know about this moaning because I have done my share.”
I can echo that, for I have done my share, too.
Paul listed his problems and difficulties, too, but he gives us insight into how difficulties can function in our lives, how we can place them in perspective, and what resources are available to us. Sunday in the sanctuary services I’ll look at one passage in particular — Romans 5:1-5. In that passage, Paul writes, “Trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Sunday, I look forward to exploring what this can mean for us in our own lives.
Grace and Peace,