by Rev. Benjamin Chung (鍾立恆牧師)
(Romans 5:3-4 NIV) We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
For the next 4 Sunday Services, we in the English Ministry will be looking at this passage and the 4 qualities mentioned: suffering, perseverance, character and hope. Each following quality builds upon the quality preceding it. And for the believer, know you must hold fast to this teaching by the Apostle Paul because these spiritual qualities will ground and strengthen us during this still very interesting and difficult time.
This time is still challenging to all of us, in different ways. An Indian pastor shared over messenger with me of how he is still displaced, due to COVID-19. He has still not been allowed to go home for over a month, because the shelter in place was issued while he was ministering to fellow Christians in another city! I am quite certain none of us are in a similar predicament. As for this pastor, it is undoubtedly true that he is developing greatly in his perseverance and patience as he continues to trust in Jesus and His perfect plan and purpose for his unfortunately situation. (Please pray that Pastor Mohan continues to persevere.)
In short, this is what suffering is really about. Suffering is not easy—it is difficult! Suffering involves a struggle of some sort. As we struggle and rely on Jesus, this is when we persevere and our character is built up. And this only comes when we rely on our Lord Jesus for strength and not our own. What I have learned is that, when my limits are pushed and I rely on Jesus by praying to Him and asking Him for help, it is at this point that my character is being developed. When I breeze through a difficult situation without giving it a second thought, I need to be careful that I am not relying on my own strength because I am neither growing through the situation nor am I trusting in Jesus to see me through.
In the end, suffering leads us to a deeper understanding of what it means to hope in Jesus, when we fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2). It is here that our hope is truly made evident, because we are not merely operating on words and a shallow belief. Instead, our hope is clearly visible is through our confident act of reliance in Christ Jesus. Then, and only then, can we glory, ESV translates “rejoice”, in our sufferings.
Persevere, brothers and sisters, Persevere! This will not last forever. We will get to see one another in person, once again. Receive this situation and time as Jesus’s means of developing a greater character in you and a deeper understanding of your hope in Christ.
不但如此，就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的；因為知道患難生忍耐，忍耐生老練，老練生盼望； 羅馬書 5:3-4
最終的時候，苦難是會令我們對信靠耶穌有更深切的了解，尤其是當我們「仰望為我們信心創始成終的耶穌」的時候(希伯來書12:2)。 我們的盼望真正地變為明顯，是因我們沒有擁有膚淺的信仰，亦沒有僅僅在言語上相信。反之，透過我們對基督耶穌的信賴，我們的希望才成為顯而易見的見證。然後到那時，我們才可以在苦難中得榮耀，ESV 的翻譯:我們可在苦難中轉化 為「歡樂」。