Hold­ing the course

Reading: Romans 5

Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

In suffering, the deliverance consists in our being allowed to put the matter out of our own hands into God’s hands.

Prison letter to Eberhard Bethge, 28 July 1944

Thought

Translated literally, patience means hold­ing the course, not throwing off the burden but bearing it. Today we in the church know all too little about the real blessing of bearing. Bearing, not shaking off; bearing, but also not collapsing; bearing as Christ bore the cross, staying under, and there below, finding Christ.

Experience produces hope. For every attack withstood is already the prelude to the final victory; every con­quered wave brings us closer to the land we long for. Therefore, hope grows with experience, and in the experience of tribulation a reflection of the eternal glory can already be perceived.