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. Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)

As I ponder these verses, divergent thoughts occur. First, the random part of my brain is reminded of the modern idiom, “fear is the path to the dark side,” which makes me suspect that Yoda must have understood what it means to be a Christian. Secondly, I hear the voice of my father’s generation, where hard work and effort were recognized to produce character. This causes me to reflect that everythingthat I had to work hard for in life meant so much more to me than things gained by little to no effort.

We live in a fast-paced society, with five-second sound bites, ten-second TikTok videos, and have become a culture where a microwave oven is just too slow. Slow is good – and sometimes when things are tough, the best recourse is to pause and contemplate. I pray we have the wisdom to reflect that when things become tough, we remember God’s abundant love for us, which is all the hope we need.

Prayer: Dear God, please give us hope in times of uncertainty and despair. Help us to trust in your plan for our lives and to have faith that everything will work out for good. Amen.

Jeff – Inspire. Ignite. Invite.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Lebanon, IN