Unlimited: The Benefits of Suffering
Aug 26, 2022 289
…because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3b–4.)
Paul is describing the benefits that a child of God receives. He has just told us that we are to glory in our sufferings. That’s very counterintuitive; after all, who likes suffering? So, why is suffering so good for us in the end?
Paul’s answer is that suffering, although its source is evil, can be productive for the one who has understood and accepted the Gospel. He isn’t saying that suffering is either easy or pleasant. Instead, Paul is telling us that suffering is part of a process that produces good in us.
Suffering produces perseverance.
The apostle has told us that those who stand in grace rejoice in their sufferings. How do we come to the point at which we can rejoice in our sufferings? Only when we can see that it has a purpose. Only when we can see the prize. The process is that suffering produces perseverance. The more that we persevere, the more firmly our character is formed. The more that our character develops, the more that hope will grow within us. It is hope that seizes the prize and keeps us encouraged until the end.
Professionals in the field of sport apply it to earthly prizes such as records, prizes, and medals. How much more should we value suffering for the cause for which Christ has called us!
Think carefully about your own life. We all suffer, to some extent or another. At which stage of this process that Paul describes do you principally find yourself? Are you developing perseverance, are you forming character, or are you growing in hope? Or is it a bit of each?