“…And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”Romans 5:2-4
I can get pretty excited anticipating heaven and thinking about being in the presence of God. But it’s not so instinctive for any of us to be excited about suffering. We naturally do all we can to avoid it… eat right, exercise, take medicines, plan ahead.
So, why did Paul say we glory in our sufferings? It’s because of what “we know”: that suffering produces in us perseverance which shapes our character which in turn gives us hope. For one who knows Christ, there is an absolute about suffering: it produces good things.
Though we’re all aware of the worry, pain and grief that come from life’s agonies, believers also know that the fruit of suffering is something to get excited about. Some of those “fruits” are only produced in the garden of suffering. A common saying among business people is that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. Growing through suffering is a bit like that. And our Savior who persevered through the ultimate suffering gave us all the hope we need to survive a world of trials.
Re-evaluate the suffering you may be facing now. Can you see the perseverance, character and hope God is creating in you?