Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 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

I saw a cartoon over the weekend that said something like, “I don’t like waking up early, but I like complaining about how early I have to wake up.” It made me laugh! No one likes to suffer, but we all know people who like to complain about how much they are suffering (even if we don’t have the same definition of “suffering” as they do). I guess the complaining could be seen as a benefit to suffering.

But in Romans, Paul tells us there are actual benefits to suffering: endurance, character, and hope. Instead of complaining about our suffering, he said to rejoice in it! If this advice had come from someone whose idea of suffering is having to wake up early on a Saturday, we could discount it. But Paul knew suffering.

When we’re in a difficult season of suffering—when James is especially anxious or not sleeping or having stomach issues—I hold on to the hope we have. This verse tells us God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit! That love isn’t a trickle, the word is pour and gives the visual of abundance. And because the Holy Spirit has been given to us, these verses are true. It’s through Him that we can rejoice in suffering and model that for our kids.

God, even when we suffer, helps us to remember it produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope in You.

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