Therefore, since we have been justified
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
into this grace in which we now stand.
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
and character, hope.
And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Wednesday, Seventh Week after Pentecost
Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
At times we just want to give up. Give up on jobs. Give up on people. Give up on life. Life is not easy the way it is, but now we are in crisis mode. Pushing up daisies can be a tempting thought. A friend of mine told me the other day, “Crisis does not build character; crisis reveals character.” How true that is. Going through a crisis is not necessarily a character building endeavor. It can either make us or break us. But one thing is for sure, a trial by fire tests whether we have the chops to ride it out, see it through, and rise above.
Do we have the strength to endure? In a crisis none of us knows what is going to happen next. Will we or a loved one get sick with COVID-19 and face an uncertain future? Will our country be able to navigate another election cycle without imploding and falling into chaos? Will violence in the streets take more victims and continue to unsettle cities? Am I and my family going to be able to survive physically, spiritually, and emotionally?
How can we possibly rise above these things?
May I suggest that we rise above when our hope and strength are in God alone. The apostle Paul points us to God’s grace in Christ Jesus. Because Jesus has already overcome the world, overcome our sin, overcome death and the grave for our sake, He alone has the chops and the ability to cause us to persevere in times of crisis. Paul says that because of what Christ did for us at the cross, we are forgiven, we have peace with God, access to his grace, and we are given an undying hope and promise that we will one day enter his glory. This changes how we deal with crisis situations. Now, we are able to “glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I know. Its a strange concept to glory in our sufferings in a time of crisis. Yet with God we are able to rise above and develop perseverance that produces character, and hope.
It is said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would add, the cross of Jesus makes you eternally bullet proof.
Stand firm and hang on to Jesus! He is able to see you through!
By the grace of God,
Pastor Langdon Reinke