Epistle: Romans 5:1-5
1Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and 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.
Boasting in our sufferings.
That seems to go against what we were taught growing up. Another word that comes to mind is “whining.”
But St. Paul’s words to the Church in Rome takes on a different connotation.
First of all, its not about just one of us. It is about all of us. There is a communal “we” in this passage.
We find this in scripture over and over again, and it can be difficult for our individual 21st century brains to comprehend.
Let us remember that God creates us to be community. Even in Genesis 1 when God creates humanity, community exists – “Let US created humanity in OUR image.” (I added the caps).
At the heart of our sinful nature is when we move from “we” and only focus on “me.”
In his letter to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul says that when one part of the body (the church) suffers, all suffer with it, and when one rejoices, all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12). We are in this together.
Boasting is not to focus on how great we are, but how great God is, and will continue to be.
Verses 3-5 are some of my favorites. For me (for us, I should say), there is hope laid out before us. We are going to get through this, and we are going to do it together.
And the verses that follow remind us that God has made a great investment in us, even when we were (and still are) messing up along the way.
That is something in which we can boast.
That is something we can share.
Let us pray: Help us, Lord, to remember that that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because of your love that has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.