READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 8:18-9:6
Psalms: Psalms 119:97-120
New Testament: Romans 5:1-11
Gospel: John 8:12-20
Evening Psalms: Psalms 81, 82
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
We had just moved into a new home in Belgium, far away from family and friends. I had arrived first. My wife and son soon followed. My wife was pregnant, but we thought we would have more than enough time to get ready for our second child.
That did not happen. Our second son was born very prematurely and needed the care and skills of doctors who spoke a language we didn’t understand in a hospital over an hour away from our new home. We felt helpless. I still remember the despair we felt on learning that our son needed a complicated surgery to give him a chance to even leave the intensive care unit. It seemed like the only thing we could do was to hope for the best and pray.
As the situation unfolded, our hope and prayers were answered in so many ways. A new set of friends rose to help us and rallied around our situation. When our son was moved to the Neonatal ICU, one of the nurses helped translate key details for us, especially during meetings with the surgeons.
Our son is now strong and healthy. As I read Romans, I reflected back to that time when hope and prayers pulled us through. It was God’s love and grace that gave the surgeons the skills to correct a very dangerous condition – and in a location and language foreign to us. We’d relied exclusively on trusting God. In doing so, our prayers were answered…and we were, we are, blessed by God.
Dear God, many times we find ourselves struggling to overcome the challenges we face: some that test our strength, some that test our will, and some that test our faith. Please share your grace and allow us to place our trust and hopes in you. For through you, all things are possible, and we will find the path that truly leads to you. Amen.