5-25-2017

Romans 21:4 – Misery is Optional

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Romans 21:4 NIV)

In his sermon a preacher called people who do this “Wounded Healers.” He said our wounds should make us better, not bitter. I once read a book called Charlie’s Victory. It is a true story, written by Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer. They were high school sweethearts who married, had two children, and were living the American dream when Charlie was diagnosed at age 30 with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The prognosis was that he had 2, maybe 3 years, to live. Charlie died in 2010, 34 years after his diagnosis!

A high school coach, Charlie continued his work even after he could no longer move, breathe, or speak on his own. He lived on a respirator and communicated by blinking, winking and moving his lips. Everyone who knew him talked about his courage and inspirational attitude. One friend said, “What we learn through him is that REAL strength is spiritual.” Charlie’s strength was indeed spiritual. He walked a close walk with God. He and Lucy attributed their strength to God and God alone. Their book is moving and inspirational. Those of us who think we have problems will re-think after hearing this story.

My favorite quote from the book was from Charlie himself. In the midst of all his troubles, he said, “Suffering is inevitable. Misery is optional.” Oh, my! What a difference can be made in our lives if we adopt this motto! Mystery is optional. What does this mean? It means that we all will eventually go through some kind of suffering as we live in this fallen world; however, when trouble does arrive, how we weather it depends on our outlook. It consumes us only if we allow it! Only if we choose it! In a wonderful song, the words say, “Whatever’s in front of me, I choose to sing hallelujah.” Have comfort in today’s Bible verse. Know that whatever we suffer here on earth, we can know that God will welcome us home with open arms when our time here has ended. What a promise to look forward to! We can rest in the assurance that our suffering will end. In the meantime, we can remember that MISERY IS OPTIONAL….as we remain “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

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