Reading: Romans 5:1-11
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.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
I am a perpetual procrastinator. Hence, the reason I am writing this reflection the day before it is to be posted. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I strive to do better, but sometimes I stumble. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy.
But, as I awoke this morning to a fresh layer of snow, I was kind of grateful for my procrastinating tendencies, because I couldn’t help but reflect on today’s reading… “hope does not disappoint us”. We’ve had a strange winter, with minimal snow and overall above-average temperatures. And here it is in these last weeks of the season that snow finally appears. Not much, mind you, but just enough to remind us that winter isn’t quite finished with us yet. Spring has not yet arrived. I thought of that this morning as my dog, Kaia, joyfully bounded through the snow, and in the process accidentally trampled on some of the daffodils starting to poke up from the ground. Hope. Winter may still be hanging around, but the promise of spring endures.
Even in the midst of our winter seasons—those dormant times when we struggle to see the sunlight in the midst of dark days—hope abounds. God’s glory abounds in sunlight bouncing off of freshly fallen snow; in flowers persistently holding on through the cold until they can emerge in all their beauty; in happy dogs frolicking with excitement. Grace abounds in times of darkness, as in light, and in hope we are not disappointed.
—Lisa Raylene Barnes
God of freshly fallen snow and daffodils waiting to bloom, we give thanks for your bountiful grace, for the beauty of your good creation, and for hope that does not disappoint.