Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)
We read in yesterday’s lesson that because we have God’s blessings of peace, grace, and hope that we are able to rejoice. But can we rejoice in our sufferings? Most people choose not to. But we do have a choice. I remember my dad writhing in pain before he died from cancer. When my sister, I, and my mom were crying because he was in so much pain, my dad said, “It’s okay. I’m not suffering as much as Christ did.” Those words will never leave me. But this verse says we should also rejoice in our sufferings because we learn from suffering. To get through suffering, we need to persevere, to struggle. When we struggle it builds our character; we become stronger. And the more often we go through life’s problems, the more hope we have that if we made it through our first ten problems, or perhaps hundreds of problems, we can do it again, all by ourselves. That’s why people who aren’t Christian can get through life, barely, but not with a lot of joy even though they are posting all their happy pictures on Facebook and Snap Chat. But sometimes, without God, we run out of hope. We can’t go through suffering for the thousandth time, and we come to the end of ourselves, and we plead, “God, if you’re out there, show me a sign!” When you say that, you are knocking on God’s door, and He will send you Jesus. You can be sure that Jesus will answer your knock, because He promises that He will in Matthew 7:7b and Luke 11:10b, “Knock and the door will be opened to you.”
And when He opens that door, we know that Jesus is with us and that God exists. We finally believe and God pours out his love into our hearts by giving us the Holy Spirit who has God’s power to solve our problems. We know we can go to God in prayer, and He will help us get through life with joy. He becomes our refuge, and we have real hope, hope in our God, who has the power to save us. Then we can really rejoice in our sufferings, because we know they will go away.