“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 (NIV)
When she answers the phone her voice is always cheerful and vibrant. I have known her for about 15 years. In all that time I do not recall an instance when she complained about her difficulties in life.
She graduated from college but due to her disabilities was unable to work. Society in Canada—at the time she looked for work—had not yet awakened to the needs of people with physical problems like hers.
She had to get around in a wheelchair and there were no ramps at the corners of street sidewalks. Main doors into public buildings did not have automatic openers for people in wheelchairs in those days. Getting herself anywhere in the wheelchair was impossible.
Yet for all the problems she faced, there was a cheerful manner about her. Multiple runs over the years to the emergency department of the hospital, countless medical tests, and several surgeries, all came her way yet she still had a smile on her face.
How could a person with so many problems be happy? Why did she not turn from the Lord she had trusted? What was the use of trusting God if you had a life like hers?
The answer to her secret of happiness in adversity is recorded in our verses today. This individual had been given blessing through suffering. Due to her suffering, she had the wonderful blessings of perseverance, character, hope, God’s abundant love and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
Think of the remarkable things this person came to possess because of paying the price of suffering. Countless people would rather avoid such blessings if possessing them was at the cost of suffering.
Of course none of us want sorrow for the sake of sorrow. No one wishes to have sorrow itself. But, when we truly value the things we may have for eternity such as God’s abundant love and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, then short term sorrow is worth having in order to have eternal riches beyond description.
This is where some fine Christians really stumble. They want to have all the blessings of the Christian life without any sorrows. They do not understand that it is only those who travel on the road of sorrow who will enjoy the remarkable things described in our verses today.
This is Paul’s point, we only receive blessing through suffering. Can you take a quiet moment today and consider the fruit of suffering? Read today’s verses several times and learn that as we endure suffering, God works so many desirable things in our lives. Pray today to the Lord to show you the good that shall come from your time of sorrow. The Lord waits to hear from you now.