We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces endurance; endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us.
- Romans 5: 4-5
It took me a long time to be able to appreciate this Bible verse. I will admit that I still have a hard time with it. I have a hard time “rejoicing in my suffering” or expecting anyone else to do so. None of us want to suffer. So we want to avoid verses like this like the plague because it’s really hard to “be glad when you are miserable.” Our first reaction is usually anger, despair or bitterness – certainly not joy!
So why does God want us to rejoice when life stinks?
· Is it so that God can “put us in our place?” No.
· Is it so that we could feel better when life gets hard? Perhaps.
· Is it so that our time of suffering will help us grow more into the person He created us to be? Now we are getting somewhere.
We may hate the process that makes us like Christ because it usually involves pain, stress, struggles and trials. Yet we all want what suffering produces: endurance, character and hope.
So what does all this rejoicing have to do with the suffering we are going through? Check out this principle James teaches:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4
Faith gets you started; joyful steadfastness keeps you going. Almost everything God allows in our lives has the purpose of developing perseverance. And when we joyfully allow Him to grow our perseverance, we will “be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Father, when I am facing hard times, help me to turn to You for the strength to walk in joy, trusting that You are growing endurance, perseverance, character and hope within me. I want to be more like You: mature and complete, not lacking anything. Amen!