I was thumbing through my journal this morning, a journal that I kept in 2017 while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. I had recorded a verse that my friend Daniel had quoted to me that day during some conversation that I can’t really remember. It is a beautiful piece of poetry found in the fifth chapter of Romans. “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.” I really like this quote.
It affirms, in powerful ways, the prayer that Dry Bones has been praying over this whole season. “Welcome, welcome, welcome, we welcome everything that comes to us today, for we know if it is for our healing…” We acknowledge what happens in this world as it is, refinement. Without suffering there can be no growth. Without growth we have trouble finding reason to hope for anything better, more beautiful, or exciting. We drift into a depression as we forget who we are. If life were to become void of suffering we would find ourselves without the motivation to live and live to the fullest. We would cease to seek out good. Our lack of suffering would then seem to produce suffering.