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THE VALE OF SOUL-MAKING

We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

Do you ever question God about the trials and troubles in your life? Do you ever complain to him about the suffering you endure? I certainly do! But there are lines from the young poet John Keats that help give perspective to my troubles. Keats writes in a letter, shortly before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 25, about the disease that had afflicted him through much of his short life. Keats say: “Call the world if you please, ‘the vale of Soul-making’. Then you will find out the purpose of the world.” Then, a few lines later, Keats explains: “Do you not see how necessary a World of pain and troubles is to school an Intelligence to make it a Soul?”  

“The vale of Soul-making”! What a powerful perspective on our time here! We see this in today’s scripture as the apostle Paul sets forth the world as our vale of Soul-making. He shows how God lovingly uses trouble to grow us. While our troubles might still leave us with many questions, Paul explains that which we can know and be sure of: knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” 

Follow here how God is using our troubles to make a Soul:

         SUFFERING → ENDURANCE → CHARACTER → HOPE

We can know that in all that is happening to us, God is at work, using our suffering to develop endurance that molds character that, in turn, fills us with hope in what God doing.  That is why some of the most hopeful people you know are people who have experienced great trouble and suffering. Paul explains that this hope we have in us “does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”     God’s love for you poured into your life is God’s guarantee, God’s assurance, to use all of your troubles to make something of you! God is making you a great ‘Soul’ for this world and for the next! God will not disappoint!

A fellow traveler,
Tim

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