Suffering leads to hope.
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)
As I’ve gotten older, I find it increasingly difficult to train. I played baseball in college. I’ve played ultimate frisbee, church softball, pickup basketball, and flag football for years. I consider myself an athletic guy.
But in the last five years or so, I’ve probably spent three years on the disabled list with “old man” injuries. Whether it’s a twisted ankle, a pulled muscle, my hamstring, or my back, it’s harder to make myself get out there and play through the pain than it used to be.
I am sure all athletes go through this to some degree. It may be an injury, a family issue, or even just a slump at the plate, but everyone experiences setbacks. It can be easy for us to praise God when we are winning and getting the spotlight, but everything seems darker when things aren’t going your way.
The Bible tells us repeatedly that we should praise God for our struggles. We often think about that in a spiritual context. Sure, we should give God glory when the enemy is attacking our plans to be obedient. But I think this command is greater than that. Paul told the Romans in his letter to them that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
So our suffering should give us hope? If you think about it, that makes perfect sense. There are dozens of clichés that agree. The night is darkest before the dawn. You have to look through the rain to see the rainbow. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
When you are in need, whether that is spiritually or physically, you can better appreciate God’s love and grace. And the deeper our acknowledgement of that grace, the more hope we have in His greater plan for our lives despite our sufferings.
Thank God for allowing us to suffer. Also, for ibuprofen.
– Jamie Boggs
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