We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
A final question asked by many people is, “Why does God permit suffering?” We observe suffering all around us. Innocent people perish in terrorist attacks. Hurricanes and tornadoes claim lives. Diving accidents result in permanent paralysis. The list goes on. Why suffering? On a more personal level, we watch troubles come into our lives and ask, “Why is this happening to me? Doesn’t God care? Why does He permit it?” Painful questions.
Paul answers stoutly. Rather than explain away suffering, he meets it head on: “We also rejoice in our sufferings ….” The Greek word for “rejoice” literally means “boast.” Paul doesn’t imply a boasting in self, but rather a boasting about God’s works in our lives. Suffering causes us to despair of ourselves and look to God. We are then reminded that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, an objective reality. God’s peace in the midst of continued suffering produces perseverance in us, which in turn builds character. Ultimately suffering leads to the hope of God’s glory. From start to finish, suffering immerses us in the loving God who sent His Suffering Servant Son to pay the price for us.
The suffering may continue. We may feel deserted by God. But He stands ready with His unfailing hope for today, tomorrow, and through eternity. Refined as gold and silver in the furnace, our faith continues to grasp the Savior. Share God’s answers from Romans 5 about the joy of hope through suffering.
PRAYER: Guide me through my suffering, Lord, so that my faith will continue to grow. Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)
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