Day Two
Scripture:  “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  (Romans 5:3 NLT)
Thought:  What a thought.  Just think how contrary to sound reasoning it is to actually run into problems and trials?  What would cause the Apostle Paul to see things the way he did?  He tells us that problems and trials help develop endurance in us.  Therefore, it must be that endurance is a blessing, a strength, a needed part of our Christian character, and the benefit outweighs the challenge.  He blends another thought in with the benefit.  Do you see it?  It is to rejoice when we run into those problems and trials.
Application:  Are you going through some problems and trials?  Are you rejoicing?  I know that our trials often cause us to be on the defensive most of the time.  Our self-preservation mechanism kicks in, and often our pride shows itself as well.  We feel misunderstood, abused, neglected or angered.  These things are all normal.  What is not normal is to rejoice when they come our way.  It may feel like it goes against the very nature of what we should do …but is it?
As an athlete I still remember the painful training I had to go through to be developed as a football player.  I repeat “painful.”  There is no other way to put it.  Our muscles were bruised and ached all the time.  After a game it took days to work the pain out of our bodies, using the whirlpool tub and other means.  That was nothing.  The two-a-day practices before the season began was the worst.  We hated it!  But it was necessary if we wanted the skill and strength needed to maintain our bodies during the season …and to win.  It did not come easy.  Every time the pain got really bad, I had to ask myself why I played football.  The question was answered by remembering that it was about game time on Saturday.  I wanted to be the best ballplayer I could be, and I wanted to play in those games.  I had to remember that what I was going through was needed to make me ready for those games.
In a similar way God’s man must be trained into a man who will endure under challenges and loads that would make most men check out.  This man stays in the game. He doesn’t quit.  He doesn’t surrender.  This man needs endurance to be this way.  Therefore our Heavenly Coach permits problems and trials to enter our life like a coach trains an athlete, to prepare us for what is ahead.  Now to answer the question as to why Paul saw problems and trials as a reason to rejoice?  He knew His King was preparing him for greater things, and he was glad that God was making him ready.  If you are going through your own trials, just remember: God is preparing you for greater things, and that is a good enough reason to rejoice.
Response:  If you are going through something challenging right now, use this time as an opportunity to go on the offensive with facing this trial.  Start rejoicing that God has given you this momentary problem to get you ready for the next “game”that He will be bringing you into.  Look through the problem and see Jesus standing behind it.  Then walk right through it to Him.  You’ll get through it, and what will remain will be endurance.