Pastoral Affirmation, March 26, 2020: Refreshing Fruit From A Bitter Tree


Romans 5:1-5


“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but wealso 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.”


Tribulation is a bitter tree. A tribulum was a Roman threshing instrument to separate corn and husks.  Just like other tools a tribulum is an instrument for making material changes on other objects, as by cutting, shearing, striking, rubbing, grinding, squeezing, measuring, or other processes. These changes are often described as a bitter tree.

  • Bereavement is a bitter tree.Separation is a bitter tree.

  • Disappointment is a bitter tree.

  • Suffering is a bitter tree.

The human condition is surrounded by a forest of bitter trees.  The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans reminds us bitter trees can never make a material change in our gift of Grace.  Through the amazing grace of God, the tree bound and determined to rub, grind and squeeze us to despair also provides the fruit of endurance, character and hope.  In times like these we awaken from the dormancy of humdrum, routine winter-like Christian life, blossoming to the beauty of the person we are called to be in the power of Christ. Thank you. JCT

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