Monday, December 24, 2018
by John Snidle
“We 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.” ~ Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)
“The struggle is real” – an expression that is often used with sarcasm to poke fun at our first world problems: bad cell service, slow internet, too much mocha in my latte… the struggle is real.
Despite that, there is real struggle, no matter where a person lives. No one goes through life unaffected. The reason we roll our eyes at silly inconveniences is that we have experienced, or are experiencing, real pain and suffering.
The Bible has a lot to say about suffering, probably because it is common to us all. In Romans, Paul suggests a surprising response to our suffering, and that is to be proud of it. The Greek word used for “boast” is
The word offers the idea of “Living with ‘head up high’”, or living with confidence. We can endure the pain and suffering that life presents us with our head held high, not because of confidence in ourselves, but because we are confident in a hope that “does not disappoint” – a hope in Christ.
“We always think of hope as grounded in the future. That’s wrong, I think. Hope is fulfilled in the future, but depends on our ability to remember that, like Jacob, we have survived everything in life to this point – and have emerged in even better form than we were when those troubles began.” – Joan D. Chittister
TODAY: Pray for someone you know who is retired or is retiring.