Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 5 This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9 So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.10 If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life? 11 And not only that: we even take pride in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, the one through whom we now have a restored relationship with God.
Romans 5: 1-11 (CEB)
When I read this scripture for today, my first thoughts were about boasting and how strange that word is. I tried to remember the last time I used it, but I came up with nothing. I would likely cringe if someone chose to use that word to describe me fearing people thought I was self-centered or bragging too much. I often associate boasting with someone bragging about themselves in an annoying way. However, Paul seems to have a different connotation of what it mean to boast. Commentators even suggest that when Paul says “boasting in God,” it means the same as saying trusting in God. What if we read this passage using the word trust instead of boast?
We talk about trusting in God so much that I wonder if it has lost its meaning. It’s not easy to trust in God, especially if you’re a planner. We want to know exactly what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and why it is happening. Often when we trust in God, we give up being able to know exactly what will happen, but when we trust in God, we can take comfort in knowing that God is guiding us exactly as God wishes giving us endurance, character and hope.
Some may see this time of Lent as a time of suffering. The world around us seems to be in a state of constant suffering. The nation is divided over many issues that not only matter to us but that will have implications on a global scale likely causing suffering in the lives of many. What are we to do in a world marked with suffering along every turn? Paul tells us to boast or trust in God throughout our suffering, for this suffering produces endurance, while endurance builds character, and character brings hope. Trusting in God brings a sense of hope. In the wilderness of Lent, I think we could all use some more hope. When the world seems so hopeless, we must remember to trust God while we are suffering. We remember that Christ died for the ungodly, and God continues to love us as we are still sinners. While we are in the wilderness wondering which way to go and feeling like we are worthless, we must remember that God still loves us despite our constant shortcomings and failures. We continually forget to boast in the goodness God gives us, yet we are quick to point out when we think God has failed us. If we could trust in God and live like God calls us to, I wonder that the world would look like?
Loving and gracious God, You are truly amazing.
Continue to help us boast and trust in you in when we are suffering and while we are enduring. Remind us again of your proven love for us so that we may do our best to glorify you. Amen
Middle Level, M.Div./M.A.C.E.
Annie Franklin is originally from Morganton, NC and currently serves as a youth intern at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond. She is excited about exploring areas of youth ministry especially in a camp or conference setting.