Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see. Right now, those words test us because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering.Especially if you're a Lutheran, and a Lutheran blogger who spent some time with that passage (Romans 5:3-5) on Trinity Sunday, May 22.
What suffering can do was a theme of President Obama's speech today in Dallas, at the memorial for the five police officers killed on Thursday night at the Black Lives Matter protest. The President talked about suffering and sharing suffering, acknowledging one another's griefs and hardships, how this can lead us to see one another's truth. (Read or watch the speech here.)
He returned to Romans in the middle of the speech:
I understand. I understand how Americans are feeling. But Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds.And at the end:
I know we’ll make because of what I’ve experienced in my own life; what I’ve seen of this country and its people, their goodness and decency, as president of the United States. And I know it because of what we’ve seen here in Dallas, how all of you out of great suffering have shown us the meaning of perseverance and character and hope.
We also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. For all of us, life presents challenges and suffering. Accidents, illnesses, the loss of loved ones; there are times when we are overwhelmed by sudden calamity, natural or man-made. All of us, we make mistakes, and at times we are lost.Gotta run--but I can't add anything to this. Gonna miss this president.
And as we get older, we learn we don’t always have control of things, not even a president does. But we do have control over how we respond to the world. We do have control or how we treat one another....
It turns out we do not persevere alone. Our character is not found in isolation. Hope does not arise by putting our fellow man down, it is found by lifting others up.