And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations; knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint . . . Romans 5:3-5 NASB
Exult – The NASB chose “exult” perhaps because the other translation of the Greek word kauchaomai has inappropriate contemporary nuances. In its usual translation, we would find “boast,” but Christian moral teaching treats boasting as sinful, so we have to find another word to express Paul’s statement. Nevertheless, let’s consider what Paul is saying when we treat kauchaomai as “boast.”
Start by asking yourself about your résumé. Isn’t the résumé a written boasting? Doesn’t it attempt to put you in the best light possible, to enhance your image in the world, to (perhaps) stretch things just a bit in your favor? What employer will hire someone who presents a résumé of failures, or one that indicates lack of skills? Most of us have, at one time or another, perfected our personal boasting papers. With that in mind, let’s add Paul’s declaration.
Write a résumé of your suffering. Write down all those things that went wrong, that failed, the caused you harm, that brought distress and discomfort. Write them down as you would write a résumé, not an obituary. Write them down as God’s personal development plan. This is the résumé that counts because, as Paul points out, this is the résumé that leads to hope. But my guess is that this is the résumé most of us take no time to actually consider. In fact, we avoid this résumé. We want the résumé of glowing accomplishments, of personal success and recognized worthiness. We emulate those who make their mark on society. There is little left for the losers.
Except, of course, that God seems to prefer those who are acquainted with grief and have experienced sorrows. God seems to choose those who are unqualified, unskilled and undervalued. God seems to enjoy the company of losers.
Do we really boast in our struggles? Do we declare the favor of the Lord on us when our lives are deeply disturbed, when stress mounts like eagles, when death and destruction seem to be knocking at the door? Do we really appreciate the agony in the Garden as a pathway for life? Or do we ask God why He lets all these terrible things happen to us? Do we question His benevolence? Do we entertain the possibility that He really doesn’t have our best interests in mind? Ah, do we think we know best?
What résumé are you writing today?
Topical Index: exult, boast, kauchaomai, Romans 5:3