As a good Lutheran, I can fully proclaim these words about our faith; “You are justified by faith.” Justified by God’s love for us by sending God’s son into the world for our sins. In that act, we are reminded that we are justified by faith indeed.

Sometimes we do things that God sees as sin; in the way we treat (or don’t) treat one another.  We think our own actions are justified. But a lot of times they are not justified at all. We don’t “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” God wants us to treat each other with love and respect; to show each other we are loved and known. 

In the midst of life’s trials, we know that we are not alone; that we are justified by faith in God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. In Romans 5, we are reminded “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.” (Romans 5: 3-5) 

These words always hit me straight in the gut. I have a feeling each and everyone of us has suffered in our lifetimes. At the time, it seems impossible; that we won’t get through it. But when we see the other side, we see that those moments make us stronger and change us. I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t share a huge piece of my story; living as the daughter of a woman who daily lives with a mental illness. 

Suffering does produce endurance. And endurance does produce character and character indeed produces hope. Hope had this power; this way of absolutely changing us. Hope hangs on the tree of Calvary as Jesus cries out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Hope is found in the empty tomb. Hope is raised on Easter morning as a declare “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

In God’s love for the world, Gods love is justified by faith; a faith we trust in through Jesus’ life, death and ultimately resurrection. 

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