Monday, November 17, 2014

Romans 5:3-4 -- On Tribulation and Hope

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:"
Romans 5:3-4

I like the idea here... that tribulation leads to hope. :)  It might need to go through patience and experience first, but the path is clear, and it is a reason to rejoice.  I think just that idea brings me some hope.  I get frustrated by temporary roadblocks, but the world, society, and our individual circumstances don't change quickly.  It takes planning and determination and sustained effort, and we so often, perhaps me more than most, want things to change just because they *should* rather than having to work for it. :)  But that's part of what we are learning here, and from God in general... how to work, how to be consistent, how to dedicate ourselves to righteous change.  We learn part of that just through overcoming our own sins and faults.  There is a lot of dedication and work required for lasting repentance.  And we learn even more as we try to apply the same lessons outside of ourselves, when we encounter differing opinions, attitudes, and desires.  None of us are going to get to a Zion society by snapping our fingers.  We have to learn to work with others, to share, to balance the needs of the many against the needs of the one.  In the city of Enoch there were no poor among them.  And it wasn't because they kicked the poor people out. :)  How do we get there?  Where we aren't selfish or worried about power and titles and who is better than who?  It's a huge job, and a huge change in the way that we live and the way we think.
I think that these verses help us with the first steps.  Maybe we need to go through some tribulation and unlearn a few things first. :)  Maybe we have to consider the things that we are doing wrong, and that the way we think about ownership or titles or social stratification might need some modification.  It's a slow process, learning how to be Zion people, but it teaches us patience, and we gain experience as we try out new ideas and practice new ways of interacting with people.  And, as we gain that experience, hopefully we also gain some hope, and see that it *is* possible.  We can change.  We can learn, and unlearn, important lessons as we approach God and build Zion.

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