I am always amazed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It seems that whenever I am going through a really serious trial and time of suffering, the Lord is closer than when things are doing well. It is almost as if I wish that I would suffer hardships more often just to have that sweet fellowship that comes through trials. I was reading some passages regarding trials and their importance, and I camped on Rom 5.3-5. This is what the text says:
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.
In light of the peace that we now have because of justification, we are able to endure life’s trials and difficulties.
The first thing we are to do is to rejoice (καυχάομαι) in our trials. We are to boast in our sufferings (θλῖψις). The word θλῖψις can be translated in a number of ways: trouble, anguish, affliction, tribulation, persecution. The reason we boast in our sufferings is because they produce endurance (ὑπομονή). ὑπομονή means that we are able to stand up under pressure (BDAG 1039 s.v. 1). When we experience suffering, it produces in us the ability to withstand under pressure; the more demanding and trying the suffering, the more it produces in us the endurance to make it through.
Even more, this ὑπομονή produces in us character (δοκιμή). There are two basic meanings of this word, (1) a test, and (2) the result of the test, namely a proven character (BDAG 256 s.v. 2). The definition of BDAG is helpful:
A pregnant construction: ὑπομονή as a process of enduring something amounts to a test that promotes and validates the character of the one undergoing it (BDAG 256 s.v. 2).
So as we continue to hold up in the face of difficult trials, are character is also being proven as good, and this in return produces hope (ἐλπίς).
All of these I have been thinking about a lot throughout the last few weeks. My own personal life as seen its share of sufferings. Also, I have seen my best friend have to endure serious heartache and tribulation is his own life, and all of these trials have led me to the Word of God and to the throne room of our King. I thank God that nothing happens without a reason. Every trial and hardship has been perfectly planned by the sovereign God to make us more like Jesus. It is when I come to grips with that, that I am able to see the hand of God in all suffering.
Soli Deo Gloria