As I get older, I realize more and more how countercultural the Christian faith is. In our modern American culture of entitlement and rights, pleasure-seeking, fear of aging and death, instant gratification, and individualism, our Scriptures can indeed seem like foolishness to the secular mindset.
In fact, today’s reading from Romans provides us with a very good example of this. In it, Paul encourages us to boast, rejoice, and glory in our sufferings, a notion that seems quite silly to a culture that is about the pursuit of happiness and the American dream, a pursuit that we all know we deserve.
Why in the world would we rejoice in our sufferings? No, in the wake of a painful or difficult time, it is often our natural instinct to do just the opposite – to rail against such suffering and to do everything in our power to avoid any future suffering.