Café began on Tuesday with this simple challenge...
Fill in the blank: I hope ______________________.
We grow up hoping for many things... hoping to do many things... hoping to become the person we want to be...
But as we get older, when we hope for something and end up disappointed instead, it can be easy to turn to cynicism as a way to cope with all forms of suffering. Anything from failing a test, to watching the Falcons lose the Superbowl, to missing out on a great opportunity, to losing a loved one... life isn't always easy, but we can choose how we deal with these forms of suffering.
Paul tells us some wise words about suffering in Romans 1:1-5.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Rob Cosby made a guest appearance at Café on Tuesday, and told us about what this passage has meant to him. Last April, Rob woke up with extreme back pain and lost feeling in his legs, causing an unexpected trip to the hospital where he learned that he had suffered a spinal stroke. The doctors guessed he would eventually get better, but they didn't know how long it would take for Rob to regain any sort of function in his legs. He spent the next few months at The Shepherd Center, going through rehabilitation and persevering every day to help his legs get stronger. During one of his first nights in the hospital, Rob came across the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and watched it. When the movie ended and the credits began to roll, the song "Stay Alive" by José Gonzalez played... and the lyrics stuck with Rob throughout the rest of his recovery journey. But who could explain why better than Rob himself, who created a video montage of his experience to this song:
Rob's story is an incredible, real-life example of what Paul was trying to say in Romans 1:1-5. We know that suffering can lead to hope if we persevere and grow along the way. While his condition has improved dramatically and he walks to and from class everyday, Rob is still working to get stronger and healthier. While things aren't always easy, they can be good... and Rob ended his story by reading some words that have meant a lot to him over the past year:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.