Romans 5:3-5 (The Message version) “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short changed. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
Today I wanted to share with you a bible verse that I’ve been challenged by over the past few weeks in light of the unfolding tragedy we are facing. It started in a conversation with my neighbour who said; “It’s in crises like this where people’s faith goes out the window” – now although she was talking about something quite specific it did get me thinking about the challenges this crisis brings to my faith.
For me belief in God is something I’ve always had and haven’t been able to discard. I think that is because from my perspective the faith I have isn’t in some intangible, distant being but is rather grounded in my daily experience of reality. You see, my faith developed in community with other people. I became aware of and saw God within the church communities I grew up in; right there in and amongst those loving, generous, flawed yet hopeful people I found God. And arguably the same is true in everyday life; all around me I see God’s hand in every act of kindness, goodness and hope. That doesn’t explain away the horrors of the present moment and every day I question God, ‘Why is this happening?’, ‘Where are you in all of this chaos?’ Some days I feel the peace of God’s presence and others not so much but I know faith in God doesn’t promise a protected, easy life; hardship and sorrows will come for me as they do for all. What faith does give is a bigger picture, of more hopeful future that we can all work towards with every action, thought and word. Knowing that at the conclusion of everything we will all find peace and wholeness in God.
And so I face each day hopeful and expectant that I might perceive God in the world, knowing that while this current moment might change or even break me it won’t have the final word in my life or yours.
Faithful God, you don’t promise us a life without difficulty but you do promise to be there with us, pick us up from the ashes and help us to continue and to rebuild towards a better future. Amen.