“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
Lent is supposed to be the season for suffering, for giving up things, for meditating, and for growing closer to God. It is a church season designed to deepen our understanding of God’s sacrifice for us so that we can truly rejoice on Easter. This year is different, isn’t it? We celebrated Holy Week differently. We sang our Alleluias! on Easter morning differently. Yet, we still gathered. We remembered and celebrated the last supper. We heard the story of Jesus’ passion. We sang our Easter Alleluias!
Even though the days of self-isolation are not over and this particular suffering has not ended, the earth still turns. We see the evidence of this when we notice the buds on the trees that slowly and daily mature into full blooms. We smell the evidence of this as the smell of freshly cut grass filters through our open windows. We witness the turning of the earth as we notice our hair roots are a little grayer or our hair is longer. We notice the turning of the earth as birthdays and anniversaries and graduations happen. Babies are born. People die of things other than Covid-19. The earth turns.
All of these things are evidence of the hope that does not disappoint us. Read those verses in Romans again. Look at all the good and resilient things that suffering produces in us. Endurance. Character. Hope. I believe that God is at work in and through this pandemic. Of course, we are scared. Of course, we are bored. Of course, we wonder if it will ever end. Yet, in and through all of those very human and very real feelings, God is developing our character, our endurance, and our hope.
The hope that God is nurturing in all of us is one that will never disappoint us. It is hope that is rooted and grounded in God’s amazing love for us – a love that shows its ultimate power on Easter morning in the resurrection. We are Easter people. We are people of endurance, courage, and hope. The Lord is risen. The Lord is risen indeed.