Daily Office Readings for Wednesday 27 March 2019: Year 1: 3 Lent
“And not only that, but wealso boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and 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)
Paul tells the Church in Rome (and us) that suffering produces endurance! If we can manage to just get by the first few minutes of agony we will perhaps outlast the initial shock and pain of whatever horror that befell us. Getting past the initial agony one or two times teaches us that we are survivors and to hold on as much as we can, it teaches us endurance.
Endurance shows us that if we can get past the initial shock of the events that come at us, it builds up in us a history of overcoming challenges, and in doing so it builds character. It becomes a personality trait that informs our choice to persevere no matter what comes and to teach others to do the same.
Character, Paul says, produces hope – hope that as we hold out, as we persevere, things will get better, in this world or in the next. Hope will not let us down, either this side of our mortality or the other side in our immortality. We must maintain whatever hope and trust we have.
This last part of the verse from Romans holds a special place in my heart because in our Women’s Bible Study we use the Noon Day Prayers to begin our study. In that service these words from Paul are read every Tuesday from the bottom of page 105 of the Book of Common Prayer which reminds us that “the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 5) The weekly repetition of these words instills in us that God is at work in us. These words reinforce endurance, character and hope. This, for me, really gets down to holding on to what is good and hoping for the best in all situations, even in the bad ones.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.