Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. (Romans 5:3, 4)

The Christian life stretches me to the breaking point. It’s a clothesline on pulleys. The wheel of Christ reels me toward the window, while the world pulls me into the raw elements. Back and forth I travel, sometimes near heaven’s music, other times flapping in temptation.

With my right hand, I clamp onto heaven’s promises. On the left, desires and fears yank my body, mind, and spirit. The strain between godliness and seduction increases. I feel wrenched, torn, even crucified.

While I’m splayed on the clothesline, something wonderful happens. Endurance, character, and hope form in me. We acquire these holy qualities on earth, and celebrate them in eternity. In heaven, these treasures will be like Roman coins—all the more valuable because they’re no longer minted in the new economy. Now is when I have access to the forge of hardship. Now is when I must cast the coinage of character.

All too soon, I’ll be unpinned and hauled through the window. For now, the tensions are necessary. They permit me to learn godliness amidst corruption. This present earth is the only place where I can experience the difference between the place for which I was bound and the place to which Jesus pulls me.

Prayer: Strengthen me, Lord Jesus, to be patient between the tensions.