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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Romans 8:18-39

I was talking with a group of friends recently about what is currently happening within many of our mainline churches these days. Some members of the group were incredibly discouraged by the numerous challenges before us.

While some might have felt depressed or discouraged by participating in such a conversation, I walked away feeling excited and energized.

“And why is that?” you might wonder. “Are you a complete moron who didn’t understand the seriousness of what was being discussed?”

Well, I may not be the sharpest tack in the shed, but I did understand their point. What got me excited was that my friends understood that simply doing business as usual in our local churches is no longer going to work. Things are seriously broken – and simply rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic isn’t going to work. It’s only when we face that painful reality that we overcome our denial and put ourselves in a position where we can be transformed into something new. That’s what my friends did. They put themselves in a position where they were open to transformation. That’s what excited and energized me!

Does that mean since my friends have accepted the need for change that everything will now be easy for them?

Absolutely not! In fact, I can guarantee there will be long days ahead when they wish they had never realized that change was in order. Days full of pain. Like any process of creating new life, pain will be present. But oh is it ever worth it when you see what you have birthed!

I was reminded of this as I read Paul’s wonderful words to the Romans: “All around us we observe a pregnant creation,” Paul began. “The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us.”

Then Paul brings it home beautifully.

“That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what’s enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy” (Romans 8:22 & 25).

Perhaps there is an area of your life where you are currently feeling some pain. Instead of trying to ignore or numb the pain, ask yourself if the pain might be a birth pang – signaling the arriving of something wonderful and new in your life!

Til next time…

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