Romans 5:1-8

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

At times like these…

At times like these, it’s hard to imagine that suffering produces much of anything. Look around. As more and more people must stay indoors, industry and interaction grinds to a halt. The world seems like it is producing nothing.

Pictures from around the globe, particularly from China, Western Europe and the US show empty streets and abandoned public spaces. For the foreseeable future baseball won’t be scoring any runs, students won’t be sitting in classrooms pumping out algebra equations, restaurants won’t be cooking meals for patrons and your investments won’t be making much money.

These tangible realities are not what the apostle Paul is talking about in the fifth chapter of his letter to the church at Rome. What suffering produces, if that is even the best word to describe it, is endurance, Paul says. Look around. Is that not true?

The collective message that I’ve heard from friends and family, at church and occasionally from pundits on TV, is that together we can get through this. If we care for each other. If we put others before ourselves. If we use our God given gifts of reason and intellect. We can get through this. And we can have hope that a good future awaits us on the other side of this suffering.

Today, 2000 years later and in a very different world, St. Paul’s words still ring true.

— Pr. Dan Joyner Miller

 


Prayer: O Lord you reach out to the sick and suffering each day. It is you who gives us the strength to do what is good and true. Give us courage, not knowing where we go, but knowing that through it all we have hope in the love your Holy Spirit gives us.

To ponder: Even in this time of suffering, what signs of hope do you see?