Faith and Hope

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character,

and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ~ Romans 5:1-11 (NABRE)

The Greatest Generation. What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Take a moment to roll through the images that pop into your head. In my mind I see dirty, skinny little kids wearing rags, surrounded by dry dusty ground in a photograph showing the Dust Bowl. I then see the black and white news reel images of WWII airplanes engaged in battle, images of sailors scrambling for their posts as their ships come under attack, and bombers dropping their cargo on the enemy below. I see the women working in factories to keep the war effort going at home.

This generation of people was known as the “greatest” because of what they endured and how they overcame it. They started out life by surviving the Great Depression and then they headed off to war to fight the terrible evil that was spreading across Europe (and would eventually include South East Asia). This generation of people had grit, power and determination. They saw an evil being committed so they attacked it head on. When the war was over they went back home and got back to living life. They didn’t ask for recognition, awards or compensation. In fact, if you’ve ever known a WWII veteran they often won’t talk about what happened during the war. They did what they had to do and then they came home to get on with life.

… affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope…

Romans 5:3-4

Most of our greatest successes come after we’ve slogged through a lot of hard work, turmoil and trouble. It is only by facing problems, figuring out how to surmount them and then actually conquering them that we can learn from them. We take that knowledge and we build upon it when we hit the next obstacle. Every time you overcome an obstacle it builds confidence in yourself. Take a moment to think about this statement. Think of the last time that you overcame some kind of problem that required you to dig down deep and find the resources to get past it. How did you feel when you realized that the problem was behind you? Doesn’t that knowledge give you courage and confidence to confront the next one that pops up?

Parents and mentors refer to this kind of gained knowledge as Tough Love. Could they tell their children how to overcome the problem? Could they get in there and possibly help their children through it, or solve it themselves so that the children don’t have to even deal with it? Of course, but that doesn’t really help that child in the long run. They don’t learn how to endure or suffer through an issue. They don’t even learn how to approach a problem and solve it on their own. You do a huge disservice to a child by making their life so easy that they never have to learn how to do anything themselves. They grow into young adults who are “triggered” and easily offended, so they need “safe spaces” in order to cope. Seriously? Jesus’ entire ministry was a new movement and new way of thinking that offended the religious leaders at that time. Jesus even told his disciples that they would be hated in Jesus’ name, but I can’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says that he provided them with “safe spaces.” There’s only one safe space and none of us will get there until we’ve walked through the trial and tribulations of this world and are welcomed into the next. When we are in His presence, then we will know that we’ve reached the ultimate safe space.