“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 ESV).
I have always had an affinity for people who suffer. Coming alongside hurting people for so long reflects my childhood. For reasons, I won’t reveal here, there was a lot of “tribulation” in my early life.
As a boy my concept of God was one of judgment and thunderous volcanic explosions. I expressed prayer to God out of fear. My prayers began with lines like, “God, I’ll be good…” or “God, I don’t know if you care about me but…” That is how I lived my childhood. I was a timid boy, and perhaps my timidity encouraged my fear. I remember thinking many times I wished I could be a grown up.
When I was a boy in Scotland I discovered writing. Writing saved me. My love for writing didn’t come out of the blue. In my InScribe blog post of Sept. 22, 2015, I wrote about a schoolteacher I remember and love to this day. Her name was Miss Gordon. Here is an excerpt of the post.
From being with Miss Gordon several times during lunch or after school I learned I loved to write. The writing was how I spoke into the world and I expressed my feelings. Miss Gordon and her care for me somehow unleashed my writing.–(InScribe blog post of Sept. 22, 2015)
Miss Gordon helped me know there was hope for me. She encouraged me. Miss Gordon allowed me to be me. This was freedom. This wonderful and caring woman, who had no children of her own, let me know I mattered. I have never forgotten her. God used Miss Gordon to introduce me to hope. She was my hope.
Tribulation can be overcome and endured. For instance, God’s people have endured suffering or tribulations for centuries. We are people of hope.
Tribulation, suffering, grief, pain, etc. have always made their presence known in life. When experiencing tribulation my patience may be hesitant at first. I can never, however, discount the might, the power, or the tender loving care of hope. Hope in spite of tribulation has helped me mature in life and faith.
My writing has also matured. I know I am not a well-known writer and that’s okay. I no longer hide my writing and this is a big step for me. I’m still an introvert and not the most outgoing person yet can socialize with people and enjoy them. This is also a big step.
I have a tagline I use for my writing and workshops. I think I’ve shared this in another blog post but can’t remember when. My tagline is “Touched by grief, held by hope.” Over several decades now, I have come alongside people acquainted with grief. They are my people and audience. Hope bonds and holds us together.
Tribulation does not rule over me. Without tribulation or grief or sorrowful experiences, I would not know the depth of hope God promises. Devoid of hardships, the love of God would be foreign to me.