When suffering comes…

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:1-5 NLT

Those who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin’s penalty have much to rejoice in! Romans 5:2 states the fact that Christians are to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. The text teaches us to rejoice in our sufferings. We rejoice in suffering for what it produces in us. The word “suffering” describes the outward and inward distress in our lives.

Suffering produces in us the capacity to bear up in the face of difficulty. Every believer has the capacity to handle any distress in their lives. Jesus told believers to rejoice and be glad when people persecute them, insult them and do all kinds of evil to them (Matthew 5:11-12). He taught believers how to live in peace when suffering the stresses of life (John 16:33). God’s word is very clear that believers will have suffering while living for Christ and will endure by living according to the truth.

As believers we persevere by living according to the truth and with the godly character produced in us. As godly character is experienced, hope is produced and hope doesn’t disappoint or put us to shame because the Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts. People who have certain hope and the unfailing love of God are strong and courageous. Their faith does not wavier and their hearts cannot be broken.

Times of distress are opportunities to put God’s word to the test and find it is true. Sufferings are opportunities to develop godly character, certain hope and experience the outpouring of God’s love by the Holy Spirit. When suffering comes into your life begin to rejoice knowing God will use the suffering to benefit you with a more certain hope and an outpouring of His love into your life. The proper response to suffering is to trust and obey the Lord.

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