Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
— Romans 5:3-4
When is the last time you have heard someone say “YAY! I’m suffering!”? Was Paul losing his mind when he wrote this? Why would he say “we also REJOICE in our sufferings”? It’s because he understood that God’s priorities for our lives supersede our circumstances. Paul understood that God is more concerned with producing Christ-like character and hope in us; and perseverance through suffering is a means by which that is accomplished.
This is not to say that God is the source of suffering in our lives. The enemy will set you up for failure and try to strip away your joy by bringing suffering into your life. However, through Christ, God works out even our sufferings for our own good. It’s no wonder that Paul would later write in Romans 8:31 “if God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer is “no one” because even our enemies who are against us are working out God’s purposes in us.
In times of suffering, rather than moping and wondering why, use the opportunity to grow in perseverance, Christ-like character and hope in God. This is not to say “sit back and take it”, because we are in spiritual warfare. Battle against the enemy, and persevere in faith.
Heavenly Father, help me use every opportunity to grow in Christ-like character and hope. When times are tough, remind me of scriptures like these so that I can persevere in faith. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN!