In Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that as Christians, we should rejoice in suffering. We are told it produces endurance, character, hope, and, best of all, God’s love!
Blessings As Gifts
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but 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.”
Let’s spend a few moments discussing how some people think … how many of us think actually.
My fridge is full and my cupboards are stocked. God has blessed me.
My family and I are in good health. God has blessed us.
I love my job. God has blessed me.
We just got back from a three-week vacation. God has blessed us.
I’ll be able to retire when I’m 55. God has blessed me.
I imagine you know where I’m going with today’s devotional. Now, if these things are true, God has blessed you. After all, James 1:17 says that every good gift is from God. But sometimes we don’t see “good gifts” the same way he does.
Rejoice In Suffering
The apostle Paul, the author of Romans, says, “We rejoice in our sufferings.” Wait! What?
So this means if I don’t know where my next meal is coming from, if I’m suffering from a terminal illness, if I’m unemployed, if I’ve never been on a holiday, and if the possibility of retirement is nothing but a fantasy, I’m still blessed? And God doesn’t love me less than those who seem to have everything going for them?
Benefits Of Suffering
Let’s talk about the benefits of suffering from God’s perspective. Our suffering can result in endurance, which leads to the development of godly character. That character can lead to hope. And who among us doesn’t long for hope—especially when we look at the struggles in the world around us—and in our own lives?
You might think that accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Your Saviour will solve all your problems. From a human perspective, this is not the case. Why do I mention this now? At the end of today’s passage, it says we get to the point of having hope that does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. And only those who come to saving faith in Jesus are given God’s indwelling Spirit.
The promises in this passage—and in much of scripture—are for those who seek the Lord and follow Him. Even as Christians, we often gauge how much God loves us by how smoothly our life is going. It may sound like a cliché, but God wants us to be holy more than He wants us to be happy. That’s not always easy to comprehend—or accept.
Suffering To Hope
But there is an exciting element to all of this: If we are followers of Jesus, we can look at our struggles differently than if we did not have God’s Spirit residing in us. We can approach God in prayer and ask Him to take us from suffering to hope. It’s a hope with far more depth and promise than simply being delivered from our suffering.
If we’re honest, if things are going well, if there’s very little in life that we would label “suffering,” we may forget to remain prayerful. We will likely head off into the busyness of our day with very little thought as to how dependent we are on God. We may neglect studying the Scriptures and fellowshipping with other believers. After all, we are blessed. God loves us. Everything’s fine.
Evidence Of God’s Love
And what happens if, one day, we face the sufferings Paul was referring to? The apostle had to live with the fact that before he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, he persecuted Christians, rejoicing when they were put to death. For good reason, he was suspect among his fellow believers. After all, they knew of his past and his hatred for them.
And when Paul’s ministry was in full swing, he faced persecution, imprisonment, and the threat of death. Now that’s suffering!
It isn’t easy, but the next time you face suffering, why not ask God to reveal how it is evidence of His love for you? He alone can bring you from suffering to endurance to character to hope.
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