How Suffering Produces Hope
Today’s Key Passage – Romans 5:1-11 – CLICK HERE to read the key passage
I wish I were better at golf. I have played since I was a child, but despite my efforts I have never been very good. For the most part, I can play without embarrassing myself too badly or slowing down play for everyone behind me, but I am certainly never going to win any tournaments. The problem with my golf game is really a matter of commitment. I do not spend nearly enough time practicing to ever really be good. I am sure that if I got some lessons and spent countless hours practicing the different elements of the game, I could probably improve dramatically. Who knows, with enough time and practice, I might even become quite good. The problem is that I simply do not want to expend that much time and energy on the sport, even though I know that the only way to ever get better is with extensive practice. In this regard, most things in life work a lot like golf. In most matters, if we want to improve we need to practice. If I want to be a better golfer, I need to golf more. If I want to be a better cook, I need to cook more. This concept is also true with character. If I want to become more patient, I need to endure times when my patience is tested. If I want to worry less, I need to endure times when I am tempted to worry. If I want to have more faith, I need to endure times when my faith is tested.
This concept is carried over in today’s key passage as Paul explains how suffering produces hope. He says, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Vs. 3-4) Most people do not like to suffer, but as Paul explains we can actually rejoice in our suffering not because we like pain, but because we know that God is using our suffering to produce hope. Imagine if you will a flow chart that begins with suffering. The suffering that we face in terms of life’s difficulties or attacks from the enemy produces perseverance in much the same way that practicing golf makes you a better golfer. The more we suffer, the more perseverance we build. This perseverance strengthens our character by building our trust and our faith in God, because the more we suffer the more we must lean on God’s strength to get through difficult times. As our faith and trust in God builds, our hope will also build as we gain greater and greater confidence in our future. In this way, though it might sound counterintuitive, suffering produces hope.
The next time you face suffering, think of it in these terms. Instead of wondering why God is allowing you to suffer, thank Him for giving you the opportunity to build your perseverance, character, and hope. Thank Him for helping you grow and mature. Thank Him for loving you enough to help you build your hope.
Can you think of any other lessons we can learn from today’s key passage? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.