Friday of the Week of Lent IV
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice 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 which has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:1-6)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 5:22–6:27; Psalm 71; Romans 5:1–21
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2kQhhvX
This is one of the most beloved passages in all of Scripture. It is most beloved because it is encouraging, strengthening and reassuring. When suffering, we question whether there is a reason. When suffering, we wonder why we are suffering. When suffering, it seems it will last forever and we wonder if we will survive this present difficulty.
Here, Paul explains how suffering serves a valuable purpose for the Christian, finally leading to growth in stamina, character and hope! And as hope abounds, God pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. All of this happens because Christ died for us and turns our world and our life experience upside down. Suffering leads to hope. Pain leads to joy. Death leads to life. All because Christ is victorious over sin, death and the devil! And we share in that victory!
How many Christians throughout the ages have heard this passage while suffering persecution, illness, grief and challenge? How many lives have been touched by St. Paul’s words, spoken to the heart of those who are struggling? Familiar, favorite Bible passages become familiar and favorite when they stand the test of time and provide needed consolation and comfort.
Are you suffering in any way at this time in your life? Have you lost a loved one recently? Are you unemployed? Do you have a young person in your home or family who is wrestling with addiction? Do you lie down at night and wonder how you will make it through the next day? Do you understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” We all, each and every one of us, have times in life when we face uncertainty and are without hope, which is why Paul’s words speak to us in those times. It is why Paul’s words are speaking right now to some of you reading this devotion. “We rejoice 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…while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” When you are helpless, remember: Christ died for you!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for giving your life for me. Thank you for making hope available, through suffering. Amen.
Lenten Response: Email Romans 5:1-6 to someone who is suffering and struggling.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.