“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 (ESV)
Throughout my teenage years, I would often arrive home from school and tell my mom about my day. Keep in mind, I was #7 out of 8 children and I imagine most times my stories were likely a repeat of what my older siblings experienced. So often when I had a bad day my mom would listen, although she had heard it before, and at the end of our conversation she would say, (almost melodically) “Only through suffering can we grow in spirit.”
- Cue the teenage eye roll.
This is not what I wanted to hear. Maybe, I was hoping for a little empathy or even some commiseration? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I was not fired up (comforted?) about hearing my “suffering” would grow my spirit.
As a Christian and an adult, I now understand that the suffering and/or hardships we face in life will grow us - if only we can find a way to embrace the challenges. Paul writes to the Romans that we are to rejoice in our suffering because God can work in and through us despite our challenges.
Are you facing challenges?
Are you wishing you were not?
If someone said to you what my mom said to me, “Only through suffering will you grow in spirit,” would you want to roll your eyes and exit the conversation?
I get it - but friends, we are called to encourage and support one another in our sufferings, so that our character is strengthened and produces hope! Please, reach out to us if you are in need of prayer, or if you are in need of hope. Take heart and meditate on Paul’s words as we walk together in faith.