pain and suffering


Romans 5:3-5

3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5

Rejoice in our sufferings? Not our normal response to difficulties. The point it that we rejoice in knowing Jesus in our sufferings. We praise God because He will not abandon us in our sufferings. He fully experienced what it meant to be human. He sufferd all the normal human difficulties, exhaustion, distress, fear, rejection, loss, hunger, misunderstanding, temptation, discouragement, tears, false accusations, abandonment, torture and execution. But when Jesus prayed for His disciples and all who would follow Him, just before He was arrested and crucified He prayed:

But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. – John 17:13

He wants us to have His joy in us. He knew what he was about to face the worst experience He could possibly ever face – death and separation from His Father. And yet He had joy. The joy of the Lord was his strength:

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

For us as we draw near to Jesus in our trials and distress we learn to endure, to stick at it, to be faithful, to suffer patiently and remain in the a situation until God delivers us. This builds up our faith, our trust in His word that He will deliver us, He will never forsake us, He is our strength and our fortress. This builds character in us so that we learn to stand in the face of the enemy. We have hope, full assurance of the love of God towards us and all those around us. We can share the love of God that is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Not a human love but a love that transcends our own abilities. A love that forgives our enemies, that learns to turn the other cheek, that prays for those who despitefully use us, the love that said from the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Hope does not put to shame. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who endured the cross and despised the shame:

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Why did he endure the shame? Because of the joy that was set before Him. Bringing many sons into glory:

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. – Hebrews 2:10

If Jesus was made perfect through suffering then we should count it all joy when we face trials:

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4


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