By: Melisa Carroll
“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; 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.” (Romans 5:2-5)
OK ladies, we’re about halfway through Lent. Right now is an excellent time to check in with yourself. How are doing? Do you feel exhilarated and energized? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like you’re running on fumes and exhausted? Do you feel excited and hopeful for Easter? Take a moment and think about it.
If you’re feeling exhilarated and excited, thanks be to God! What a blessing! However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or discouraged, I invite you to reflect on Romans 5:2-5 with me. (And if you’re not feeling any of those things, I still invite you to reflect, as scripture has a way of speaking to each of us, no matter where we are.)
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
When I read this line, I immediately think of Easter. As we journey through Lent, we try to fix our hearts and minds on the hope of His resurrection and glory. Jesus suffered much for us on the Cross, but the glory of God was shown in that suffering. So we hope. We hope that God will reveal his glory in our sufferings as well, no matter how small.
“We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
The suffering that we experience, as inconvenient, frustrating, or uncomfortable as it may be, is not pointless. Over and over again we hear in scripture how suffering produces so many good things. You may have heard someone say, “Offer it up!” to you when you were complaining about something. Offering up suffering for others unites our sufferings to Christ’s and pours out grace on those in need. Not only that, but suffering also helps us become saints. The perseverance that we develop when we suffer with something for a long time helps us to grow in virtue and those virtues prepare us for Heaven. So that virtuous character that we’re all working on? It gives us hope for Heaven and an eternity where there is no more suffering.
“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.”
My favorite translation of this verse is that “hope does not disappoint”. It’s my favorite because I often struggle with being afraid that God’s plans for me will end up disappointing me. If you ever feel the same way, meditate on this verse. It’s a promise, not just a nice saying. Hope will NOT disappoint. When we fix our eyes on Heaven, strive to grow in virtue, and accept suffering as one of the best tools for growth, we are putting our hope in Him. And best of all? Our hope will not disappoint because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The fuel that we often feel like we’re lacking when we’ve been beaten down by suffering and discouragement? It’s the Holy Spirit. God’s love is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which gives us the strength to persevere and the courage to hope.
So as we pass through Lent into Easter, let’s pray for more of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask for more grace that God might be able to use our suffering to bring about His glory in our lives and the lives of those around us. Let’s practice perseverance and grow in virtue. Let’s put our hope in Him because hope does not disappoint.