June 11

Romans 5:1-5

“And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” vss. 3-4

Most of us can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Africans to have been sold into slavery and hauled across the seas to spend their lives in hard labor on American plantations. Not only were beatings and abuse common, husbands, wives, and children were separated, and family systems torn apart for generations. It’s no wonder then that when slaves were exposed to the teachings of scripture, they took to heart those passages describing suffering and pain. And as the years passed they expressed those experiences in song, and their words echoed those of Paul in Romans. “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen, Nobody knows but Jesus, Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, Glory Hallelujah!” Their suffering produced character, and then endurance, and then finally the hope expressed so clearly in the words of their Gospel music. From the events of these weeks we know the suffering has not gone away, but those descendants of slaves are not weak. Their voices continue to be strong, and from many we still hear powerful expressions of hope. Together they sing, “We shall overcome some day…oh deep in our hearts, we do believe, that we shall overcome some day.” And all of us pray that that day will come soon!

Thought for the Day: What hopeful signs have I seen lately?

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