OUR NEW CAPACITY TO ENDURE SUFFERING
SHOWS THAT OUR HOPE IS NOT GROUNDLESS
More than this: let us even exult in our present sufferings,If we have lived somewhat reflectively for a number of years,
because we know that suffering trains us to endure,
and endurance brings proof that we have stood the test
and this proof is the ground of hope.
Such a hope is no mockery,
because God's love has flooded our inmost heart
through the Holy Spirit he has given us.
grace, hope are not just new ideas in our heads
but actual changes at our deepest levels of being,
existential changes that can be tested and confirmed.
And if we are self-critical people, we want to check in every possible way
to make sure that our "Existential Freedom" is not just wishful thinking.
This is why we rejoice in our sufferings!
If we were merely
circulating comforting religious words thru our brains,
if we had a merely verbal, intellectual "faith" (really belief),
existential testing would quickly obliterate such mental shadows.
But a strong and existential faith (a condition of being rather than thought)
is enhanced by suffering and difficulty.
If we discover ourselves with a more-than-human power to endure,
a real change has taken place in our deepest beings.
This gift of endurance
is not a strength created by our own will;
we do not summon up tremendous personal courage to meet our sufferings;
rather we find ourselves resting in a supporting power.
No personal effort is required to meet the existential crisis.
We simply find ourselves carried along by a power that we know is not our own.
Such experiences of support are strong and convincing proof
that our hope is not dogmatic belief, religious fervor, or an emotional 'high'.
Paul explains this
surprising endurance as "God's love"
which has "flooded our inmost heart through the Holy Spirit he has given us."
As with the change called rightwising, we see that Your love
is not one of Your 'personality traits' or a supposed attitude toward us
but an activity in us, which changes us from weak to strong.
Our new, unexpected capacity to endure suffering and doubt
shows that we are receiving Your "Holy Spirit",
that we are being liberated from our Existential Predicament.
ROMANS DEMYTHOLOGIZED: AN EXISTENTIAL INTERPRETATION by JAMES PARK 30
For more information about
this book on Romans, click this title:
An Existential Interpretation of Paul's Letter to the Romans .
Several other books on existential spirituality
will be found in the
Existential Spirituality Bibliography .
Go to the Existential Spirituality Index page.