Tuesday, July 17, 2012
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Now, if I said I was going to give you the great secrets of hitting a baseball, I don't think you're going to go right out and try them. You're going to be skeptical, and you should be. But if one of the game's greatest hitters were to tell you the secret of hitting a baseball, well now you should pay attention.
Pete Rose actually was one of those, and he was once interviewed for an article in Sports Illustrated, and I like the title. It's called Good Wood. And he said that he liked a heat-treated bat. Now, I didn't realize this, but he said that you put the bat through an intense heat and that the heat would seal the pores and it actually made the bat hit harder. Well, it worked for him! I guess it's true, heat-treated bats hit harder. Well, you know something? So do heat-treated people.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Good Wood."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is found in Romans 5:3-4, and it talks about, well, heat treating. Here we go. "We, also, rejoice in our sufferings because we know suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope." Those are curious words. "We rejoice in our suffering?" This doesn't mean that Christian suffering feels any better than non-Christian suffering. It doesn't. It feels about the same, whether you're a Christian or not. But if you're a believer, pain is just as painful, unemployment is just as demoralizing, and pressure is just as stressful.
But you rejoice, not because it feels better, you rejoice because in Christ, pain has a point. A minus can be made into a plus. Suffering can be made into perseverance, character and hope. Just ask Pete Rose's bat. He said that heat heals up the holes in the bat and makes it more solid. Well, could it be that the heat that you're undergoing right now is heat-treating you and the holes in your life are being healed up by it and you're becoming more solid because of it? The heat you're feeling is not to burn you up, even though it feels like you might not make it through it. It's to make you strong; to build into you great perseverance, great character, great hope.
Right now you are in a position to learn more about the resources of God than any person who's in a comfortable setting. Sure you'd like to be comfortable again. I hope you will be. Sure you'd like this insecurity, this pain to pass. But right now you have a chance to know the resources, and the power, and the grace of God more deeply than you and those around you perhaps have ever known. You are learning, or you can learn, how to wait, how to overcome, how to really, urgently, desperately pray.
Perhaps you're being forced to close up some of the holes in your life; weaknesses, un-confessed sin, broken relationships that have been called to your attention by this hard time. Things you might not have given attention to any other way. And you can, because of the fire, be forced to deal with the weaknesses that you might otherwise still tolerate. And when you do, you have added a new kind of strength.
The fire turns spiritual wimps into spiritual warriors. So, rejoice as you see what you are becoming or can become through heat-treating, and only through heat-treating. You are becoming a heavy hitter in the hands of Almighty God.
Be encouraged! You're becoming good wood.