Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
We Glory in Suffering
Which sounds better to you? “Avoid suffering at all costs” or “We glory in our sufferings.” Your initial reaction is probably that the first one sounds better. But after you think about it, you realize that even trying as hard as you can to avoid it, you can’t avoid all suffering.
You can eat clean and exercise, but you could still get sick. You can take a defensive driving course, obey the speed limit and rules of the road, but it might not be enough to protect you from the distracted driver. You can be selfless and loving, but it doesn’t mean you won’t face rejection or that your heart won’t be broken. Sometimes it seems like life is a winepress, and you are the grape.
Okay, you can’t avoid suffering, but how do you find glory in it? Christians know the ultimate source of suffering is sin. And they also know that God doesn’t waste that suffering. God uses suffering as a means for drawing believers to himself. When suffering happens, Christians can rely on God’s Word and promises. Faith in God grows, and so the suffering produces perseverance.
When Christians depend on God through tough times, again and again, that produces character. And a Christian who has been tried and tested by the trials and suffering of this world has a confident hope. This world and all its suffering will eventually come to an end.
God poured out his love by sending his Son, Jesus, to suffer the ultimate punishment of sin. Because of that suffering, God sends his Holy Spirit into the hearts of believers to strengthen them through their suffering. And so, yes, you can glory in suffering. God’s using it to draw you closer to him.
Dear Jesus, thank you for suffering for my sin in my place. Help me to find comfort knowing that my present suffering will come to an end and draw me closer to you. Amen.