Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: suffering

We have come to the end of our study of “Suffering” in Romans 5:1-11. The first installment was posted a couple of weeks ago and was on Endurance. The second was on Character and was sent out last week. If you missed those first two articles, click here to find the full “unpacking” of these themes as found in Romans 5.

Let’s enter back into our study from Romans.

To simplify this pathway to faith as presented by Paul in Romans 5:

  1. There is some hardship that enters your life (Suffering)
  2. You ask why and wonder what is the point of going through this (Endurance)
  3. Then the answer to those questions grounds you in truth (Character)

So, now we move unto Hope.

I think the easiest way to start with Hope is to describe what it is not. When Paul mentions hope in his letters, it is not like us saying, “Boy, I hope my team wins the World Series!” It is not hoping for something that might come true. It is not like placing a bet or buying stock. The kind of hope that Paul is describing is certain. It is the kind of hope that there is no chance that it will not happen or come true. So, when Paul mentions Hope, he is referring to belief and action in something that is 100%, absolutely true and real. It is always true under every circumstance or situation. Hope is directly connected to Faith and Belief.

Therefore, when something comes into your life that causes some level of suffering, whether it is disease or a business failure or losing a basketball game, the first thought we have is something along the lines of why am I doing this or what is the point. We start searching for meaning and wonder if we should just cut and run. In business, you analyze the money that it would cost you to shut the business down versus what it costs to keep going. In other words, is it more painful to continue or more painful to quit? So, relate that to any hardship. You are failing a school class–is it more prudent to finish and try to pull this grade up or should I drop it? You hate your job–Is it better to quit and find a new one or stick it out?

This process becomes endurance. Once you come to the other side of this stage (or for lack of a better term, evaluation) in the path, you feel like the ground under your feet has leveled.  Then the perspective you have is that you are right where you are suppose to be. “This is right, and I am suppose to be here.”  This results in strength because you put roots down. In other words, you gain character. Do you remember the image of the light house in the crashing surf in the last article? That is character.

Then character leads to hope. Hope is based on knowledge gained through experience. It is confidence and that is the rock that you have planted yourself in during hardship. You know that God will not abandon you because He didn’t abandon you during this time of suffering. Matter of fact, the suffering intensified the relationship and faith that you have in the Lord. That is hope, or better yet it is a certainty that you build your life and actions on. So, let’s rehearse the hope that we have as described in the Bible (feel free to add to my list):

  • God is Good
  • He loves us
  • He delights in using His people
  • He will finish His good work
  • He is our Creator
  • Nothing ever surprises Him

This is our Certainty…

Then Paul continues in Romans 5 and says that this hope will not put you to shame.

During the basketball season, the guys that I coached hated to lose. Their head usually fell after a loss, and there was shame. The guys usually felt like they did something wrong. Many of the guys would not even look up in the locker room after a loss. For them, the evaluation usually revolved around how did I cause this loss? What could I have done better? Well, I think that kind of shame after failure and disappointment is what Paul is referencing. He says that this suffering that you are experiencing is not based on your actions but on God’s purpose. God is building you for something greater in His purpose in the future. Paul is saying that after going though Endurance-Character-Hope, you will come out on the other side with no shame. There will be confidence because it is not based on something as faulty as our character but on God’s character and purpose.

Think of Job, after he went through the emotional and physical heartache of losing his children, loss of possessions, and even his reputation in town, he came out on the other side with more. Now I know that many of you reading this now have gone through great suffering yet you did not come out the other side with double your possessions. So, I can’t make any promises about what this might look like in your own life, but I think I can say that you come out with “More.” What I am trying to say is that suffering leads to real growth. Growth that is not easy to detect as you are going through the process, but when you are on the other side and look behind you, you can definitely see a hand guiding you.

This is why Paul says at the beginning of these verses,

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,… (Rom. 5: 2-3)

The Scripture reference is Romans 5: 1-11. If you haven’t read the rest of this series, click here to access them all.

So, this is the week! Our first event of the year in Rogers, AR. It starts on Thursday, March 21st. I sure would love to see you there, and to share our stories of how God has worked. If you want to learn more about these events, click here

 

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Sincerely,

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P. S. If you are reading this and you have already registered, we encourage you to invite your friends. You will receive $5 to spend in the exhibit hall for each family that uses your referral link, and they will get $5 off their registration. Check out our referral program here!

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The Path of Suffering, Part 1

Most of you don’t know this, but I coached my son’s varsity basketball team last year.

It was one of those experiences that I would not trade for anything. It was my son’s senior season which was part of the motivation, but I came away with a sense that this was something that I should have done sooner. They were a good team and a great bunch of guys which made it much easier. We had a lot of success! However, I have to tell you that while it was fun, it was also stressful.

To be quite honest, I lost much more sleep worrying about the basketball team than I did about Teach Them Diligently or even our mission agency during that time.

As we went through the season, I would spend time before games and at practices teaching the guys from what God was teaching me. The truths I am going to share with you over the next couple of days came out of one of those times with the team. We had just come through a difficult pre-season tournament in which we lost our first game and then won the next two. After the tournament and just before our first regular season game, I shared these truths with them. As I taught, I thought of a very difficult time in the history of Teach Them Diligently back in 2013.

In 2013, Teach Them Diligently moved forward with an aggressive expansion that we felt God was directing us toward. We expanded to three large events and then we added 10 mini-events on top of that. This plan had been bathed in prayer, and we moved forward with great excitement. It was not long, however, before we realized that things were not going as well as we had hoped. By the time we got to the end of May, we started to cancel events. We had not even started the mini-events and cash was low. To make a long story short, we only did four of the planned ten mini-events. We lost more money that year than we brought in total for the year. We also had to let go several people we hired to help run these new events. It was hard, and I was devastated. I had so many questions. Most started with “Why?”

Why would God do this or not that?

Why did I feel so certain that this was the direction God wanted us to go?

Why am I even doing these events?

And, why should we even continue?

I will tell you that I felt responsible, and I was beating myself up pretty hard over the problems.

Now, the first question that many of you are asking is “Why am I telling you about this?” Obviously, Teach Them Diligently did not go under, so this could not have been a really serious problem. Well, first I want to tell you that it was very serious, and Teach Them Diligently and our family are still feeling the impact of that time even now–6 years later. Second, I wanted to tell you about this because Teach Them Diligently is something that all of us have in common, and this organization was very close to closing. The reason it is here is because of God’s sustaining hand, and what He taught me during that time in 2013.

So, let’s go to Scripture. The Scripture that I am bringing all of this from is in Romans 5:1-11.  The caption at the top of this chapter in my Bible is “Peace with God Through Faith.” Please read these verses.

In these verses Paul is talking to a group that is wondering about suffering in relation to the Gospel. Some are wondering why they are suffering now that they have accepted the redemption of Christ. For others, Paul is rallying them around the idea of glorifying God through suffering. And, Paul in a manner that we see over and over again in his epistles gives a step by step growth path. He takes one characteristic and adds it to another and then another and then another.

Here is what this path or road looks like in Romans 5:

  1. Suffering
  2. Endurance
  3. Character
  4. Hope
  5. No Shame

The first thing that we often do when a time of suffering comes into any of our lives is ask why. Whether we are dealing with a difficult marriage, the death of a loved one, a child that we are homeschooling that is just incredibly difficult to handle, or we are tired, enduring financial hardship, or anything that puts us into a rocky and hard time, we tend to ask “Why?”. Why is this happening? Why is God allowing this? Whether we are angry and frustrated or even just sad, it is highly likely that you are asking a lot of questions and searching for answers as you are suffering. Additionally, you may also be asking a question like “Is this worth it?”

That is Endurance…What I mean is that if you face any hardship, the first thing that develops as you work through it is endurance. The opposite is to give up and that can be pretty serious in some cases. For some it means that they just stop or resign a position. For others, it may involve entering a self-destructive spiral. Developing the Endurance that Paul talks about here is searching for meaning in what you are going through and finding it.  

This is the same place Job was in while his friends were telling him what he had done to deserve all of this tragedy in his life. They were answering the question why. Although their answers were wrong, they were trying to help Job by answering that grand question.

I want you to know that there is a plan, and God is not going to allow suffering in your life just because he wants to or because he is angry with you. That is not the purpose of suffering. Many of you are hearing this and starting to fill in the blanks with your own answers of why God allows suffering. Or, as many put it, “Allow bad things to happen to good people…” God does not waste these times of difficulty, and the treasure on the other side of this suffering is faith. Your belief is deeper and stronger.

To recap, Endurance develops because God answers the questions we have, and we realize that there is a point. God has a plan! However, He is not done.

God plans on taking what we have learned and putting action to it. That is where character comes in. We will discuss that next Sunday evening. Suffering leads to Endurance and that endurance leads to character…

The night that I presented the truths to our team we won by 25 points. We were not as good as we were going to be, but God had already used the difficulty of the pre-season tournament to mold us as a team. These guys were starting to play together. They trusted and believed in each other.

And, 5 years ago, I actually considered shutting down Teach Them Diligently completely. I doubted everything, but something would not allow me to close these events. I just had this strong sense that God was burning off the “dross”. That he was molding something. As my wife puts it, God had directed us to step out on this path of faith, and then He stood behind us, forcing us to stay the course as He blocked our way back.

Next week, I will unpack character…How does character fit into suffering, and why does Paul include it on this path?

Tonight, though, I hope and pray you are planning to join us for one of the Teach Them Diligently events this season. We believe passionately that God is at work through these events, and we have been thrilled to hear from countless families testimonies of His grace and reviving power as they come out of them.  I sure would love to see you there, and to hear your story  of how God has worked. If you want to learn more about these events, click here.

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Sincerely,

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About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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