“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 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 5:1-5)
From early on my writing has sought to integrate the principles of the Christian life with every day living, based on the assumption and assertion that what our faith and beliefs tell us MUST be reflected in how we live in the world. That Christ came into the world not only to provide deliverance and forgiveness of our sins, but to show us how to live in the world yet not be caught up in the priorities of the world. This perspective, amongst others, has set the course for my life and has been a guiding precept. I am not declaring that I am abandoning it now, so put such fears away. But over a span of months I have seen how far apart ordinary life and faith life can be. And as I have tried to bridge the two in my life, at times it threatens to tear me in two. But again, I am not abandoning it.
What I see myself needing to do is to even more closely knit the two together. What my faith tells me I HAVE TO live out. It is the ONLY way to have peace in my life. And I suspect, beloved reader, it is the only way to have peace in your life as well. We cannot just stop living in this world; there is no other world to live in. And at times it may seem like this world is just too off course, but there is no other alternative.
What should we do then? Abandon the Christian live because it is too hard to maintain? Re-format our faith to tenets and precepts are easier to follow and honor in this world? That is not an option either. What we must do is cling to our faith, have faith in God that the Divine will hold us together, and refuse to let the world rend apart our faith making it meaningless. It has probably been said by every generation, but it seems as if our present reality tests Christian faith more than it has ever been tested before.
Or perhaps we need to concede that our spiritual forebearers withstood more than we know. And if that is so, then there is hope for us! As the writer of Romans said, we boast in our suffering. Not that we suffer more greatly, but that God meets our suffering and helps us through. That endurance, character, and hope will sustain us. And that God’s love floods our hearts and spirits. God’s love is tougher, stronger, and more enduring than the world thinks love can be.
And the writer of Romans reveals to his reader, and to us, how God’s love and Christ’s example is made manifest to us – through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one aspect of the Divine. But it is not a created presence that stands in for God, but is God! Not a wisp of smoke and a gust of wind, but the Divine covering and infusing the world. When we say “the Holy Spirit” we MEAN the Holy Spirit of God!
May you, beloved reader, endure the days that are in your life, keeping yourself whole and intact by God’s love, grace, and mercy! Selah!