Scripture Reading: Romans 5:3-5
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Only a Christian can say with truthfulness — “I rejoice in my sufferings.” We can say this and mean it because we live in the sure hope of glory — “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (v. 2). We are destined for glory. We will see God’s glory face to face. One day all things will be set right again. We shall be glorified also. We have this eternal perspective to live by.
However, we must realize that Christians are not exempt from suffering in this world. We face pain, disappointments, difficulties, death, tragedies and trials because we live in a broken, fallen world. Therefore we should be prepared for suffering. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Suffering has a special purpose in the life of a Christian. It builds endurance, character and hope — “Knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope.” God allows suffering in our lives to make us more Christ-like. God used the suffering of His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring us salvation. We can rejoice when we suffer because we have the privilege in sharing in Christ’s sufferings — “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:13).
When we suffer and realize that to a very small degree we share in Christ’s sufferings, we come to realize what Christ’s sufferings produced for us — glory! Yes, we rejoice in the hope of glory and this hope does not disappoint us. It is a sure hope that Jesus is coming again and we will behold His glory. Suffering and glory go together. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
We rejoice in our sufferings because we have an eternal perspective. We know that we are destined for something far better than the best this world has to offer. We rejoice in suffering because God uses it to make us more Christ-like. Suffering produces endurance and character. And we rejoice in suffering because we can share to a very small degree the sufferings of Christ. We know that when we go through times of suffering, we are not alone — we have the “the love of God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Lord God, I can honestly say that I rejoice in the sufferings I have experienced in my life. I have seen Your hand at work in the midst of my sorrow and disappointments. I have experienced Your love in greater ways through my times of suffering. I have seen how You have produced endurance, character and hope in me and in members of my family who have gone through times of suffering. I rejoice, Jesus, that I can share to a very small degree Your sufferings.
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