And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
Paul has put together a list of traits and behaviors for Christians that will teach us to follow in Jesus footsteps. He begins with “suffering produces endurance” (Romans 5:3) and continues that character and hope are the next phases. Why do we need to suffer to grow?
It’s not a matter of “needing” to suffer, and it certainly isn’t God sending trouble to make us stronger. The suffering Paul speaks of is a direct result of sin in our broken world and comes to us through poor choices – sometimes our own, sometimes due to others. When we experience suffering, God is there with us and can use that experience to deepen our faith and strengthen our relationship with Him, producing endurance, character and hope.
God’s presence with us in times of trial teaches us not to give up. Because He is constant and unchanging, we are taught to be steadfast and faithful through trouble; and because He is always there, we have hope for the future.
Gracious God, we are comforted in our suffering because You are with us. Help us to learn and grow through all our experiences that we may love You and others more, and make disciples of all the earth. Amen.