Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rejoice Because Hope Comes From Suffering? What?

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

Rejoice in our suffering? Find hope from perseverance and character? It doesn’t make sense.

Because our use of the words suffering, perseverance, character and hope has changed significantly from the original Greek meaning we must investigate a little to understand. The following reworded and expanded version reflects the original intent:

We don’t only rejoice when life is good, but also when faced with problems and trials (suffering) because we know these difficulties challenge us to trust God’s faithfulness (perseverance). Each problem we endure with our eyes on God is evidence that our faith has been tested and proven strong (character). These experiences give us confident expectation (hope) that God is trustworthy.

Hope is about trust, which grows one experience at a time.

We don’t instantly trust a rickety wooden bridge spanning a deep ravine. We take an uncertain step testing if it holds up. We shift our weight forward listening for creaks and snaps before taking another tentative step. Each successful step increases our confidence in the bridge. After several secure steps our perspective changes and we expect the bridge to support us.

Similarly, when faced with our first trial we question “Where is God?” But each time God shows Himself to be trustworthy our faith strengthens and our hope becomes more certain.

Hope is this confident expectation of God’s goodness that increases with each experience of perseverance and tested faith. So while rejoicing in suffering seems unfathomable, trials can strengthen our hope.

Rejoicing in suffering sounds crazy, but trials can strengthen our confidence in God. (tweet this)

How does understanding hope as confident expectation change your perspective?
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