Being Pressed…

Over the last 24 hours I have talked with several Mom’s of brain tumor kids, some through email and one in person. There is much to be learned from those who have walked the path before you, especially when the path can be so treacherous in places.

The common consensus is, it is a long road…there are no short cuts. Which leaves me with mixed feelings; I want him to be back to the way he was before the surgery. I can close my eyes and remember the morning of March 26th as we sat in the waiting room…Joel was a ball of energy. Balancing between two chairs, climbing on things with the agility of a cat. I honestly have no idea if we will see that again. Yet, as I listened to these other Moms share their journeys, I know that where Joel is at is normal for the surgery he had and the drugs he has been on and will be on.

You know in all this I haven’t asked, “Why?” It seems such a futile question as there are no answers. I did ask is this genetic…did I do something…but not Why. I have been reminded of a verse I shared before.

Romans 5:3-4
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Interestingly, as I researched Tribulations I came to two words, Thlipsis which was then translated into Tribulation, which comes from the Latin word Tribulum. The first was, I believe, the Greek word used in this passage, Tribulations; now some translations use suffering, a word we are much more familiar with, yet, I am no scholar so feel free to correct me, but in this case I believe tribulations is the more accurate translation. Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this.

Thlipsis means: to crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, squeeze in turn derived from thláo = to break) originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Medically thlipsis was used of the pulse (pressure). It is a pressing together as of grapes. It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. *

Tribulum means: which was a device used for threshing grain. Threshing was a necessarily violent process in which grain was furiously beaten and “thrashed” to separate it from the straw and chaff. From that, tribulation came to mean a severe trial or catastrophic event. **

Neither one necessarily has a very positive ring to it. Yet if we look closely I think we can see what the passage is getting at. At first glance I think, how can we glory in tribulations, how can it produce anything of value?

If Thlipsis is the pressing that is used to squeeze the juice from the grape to make the costly wine, or the pressing of the olive to extract the precious oil…and if Tribulum is the violent thrashing that takes a stalk of wheat and gives you the grain that will produce the life giving flour, then the pressing and thrashing have worth.

In the same way, the hard things of this world that press in so deep and squeeze us till we feel like we are barely breathing… if we let them, they will produce something far richer than what we were before. That is how we can glory in our tribulation or as some translations say, how we can rejoice in our suffering. As the verse in Romans ends it says, hope… Hope. If you let it press, press hard, you will reap HOPE. Which is so much more costly than, “Why?”

Being pressed and reaping HOPE!

* Thlipsis definition

**Tribulum definition

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