Romans 8:18-25

I find this passage from Paul challenging, and not necessarily in a good way. For a letter about present suffering and future glory, these verses are bleak. Couldn’t he have thrown us a bone? A bit of hope? Instead, we get this: But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (v. 24, NIV). Scripture often alludes to our need for patience when it addresses suffering. And when suffering is immense, relief can feel like a pipe dream. How can we see the pinpoint of light on the horizon when sitting in a pitch-black room? 

In my late 30s, I experienced a long, debilitating depression, rooted in the loss of a marriage; the loss of a parent after a long, painful illness; and the loss of a moral compass in the organization I worked for, as those in power refused to hold a work colleague accountable for heinous behavior. 

Looking back on that period, I recognize a miracle that blessed me in the form of three people who encircled me with love. And, although I couldn’t see it then, they offered a tiny speck of hope on my horizon. All three insisted that I carry their phone numbers, should I need to speak to them day or night. I kept those numbers in my wallet for years. I can’t imagine surviving those dark times without the hope they offered me.

When we hold each other up through the most difficult days, I believe we honor the admonition in this passage. Believing in each other and committing to the long haul by showing up when we’re needed…that’s patience.


How can I hold up those nearest to me in their time of suffering?


Thank God for those who give us hope when we have none ourselves.

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