Suffering for the believer is never without purpose.
“Why?” is the question many of us ask of the Lord when something tragic happens in our lives or in the life of someone we know. There’s story after story of suffering in the Bible, but very seldom do we know why the people suffered. On this topic Paul wrote:
We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance products proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rejoicing in the midst of suffering focuses our attention on the knowledge of what the Spirit produces in us through that suffering. The result is threefold: suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
Suffering Unleashes Endurance
Endurance in the Bible means steadfast adherence to a course of action in spite of difficulties and testing. As we go through trials, we develop greater perseverance to deal with increased challenges. Consider James’s words on the subject:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
Endurance Unleashes Character
As God produces in us greater fortitude and capacity to deal with more hardship, He brings out character. Character is the image of Christ that’s present in us being made clearer. In essence, character means to expose the quality of ...