Tribulation As a School of Patience

It says in the epistle reading, “We have been justified by faith” (Romans 5:1).

Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Faith inspires trust, in obedience or submission to the Lord and His teachings, which brings us to resemble him and to take the Lord Jesus as a model for us. Blessed is the believer, for he accepts this tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostle Paul says (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Tribulation comes from persecutions, but it also comes, as we witness today, from difficult material possibilities.

The world today has become accustomed to excessive consumption in everything, but economic circumstances have become difficult, jobs and opportunities for work have become sparse and austerity has become necessary in all areas.

Thus the current tribulation in the family and in society. Blessed is the one who can persevere without losing his faith and his reliance on the Lord. This is what the epistle reading means when it speaks of patience and hope in the love of God that “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).

This is also because “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

In times of tribulation we feel our weakness in overcoming the present difficulties through our own efforts, which guides us, if we have kept our faith, to rely on God Almighty to bring us out of the present difficulties.

 This causes us in the present tribulation not to despair, but rather to experience more the power of God who can bring us out of this difficult situation in order to bestow upon us great hope and glory.

The believer prays and feels in his fervent prayer that he is cast into God’s hands. This is when he falls into the temptation of his tribulations and physical and mental suffering.

Experience will show him that no obstacle that he encounters will cause him to abandon his faith and his struggle. This is because he experiences that his patience in struggle leads him to victory and to greater assurance in preserving his faith and his attachment to the Lord and indeed, to greater joy (and glory) by the power of the Holy Spirit who is in him.

Tribulation, physical, mental and material trials are a school that trains us in patience and it depends on the power of faith in God Himself (cf. Colossians 1:11).

+Ephrem
Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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