Suffering that is Out of My Control is the Best Suffering
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.”
Nobody likes sitting on the bench.
Or doing pull-ups when nobody is looking.
Or doing vocal warm-ups “mee mee mee”
Or doing the same math problems over and over.
Those are things that we do, without any complaint, because we know they are leading us to a greater thing.
Those are things that we do, without any complaint, because we know they are leading us to a greater thing. We sit on the bench because at some point we’ll get up to bat. We do pull ups so that we’ll be able to climb that rock wall. We do the vocal warm-ups so we’ll really be able to sing with all of our might. (no comment on math.)
All of those things are tiny bumps in the road compared to the thing that we are hoping to achieve. Paul is drawing that same level of parallel to things that the Church suffers as she is on her way to meet Christ.
Ask anybody that has done any of those things and they won’t complain about the suffering. Runners always have awful faces, but most of them will go back out and run again. If we have confidence that our sufferings in Christ grow us in endurance, character, and hope, bring it on! We wouldn’t even consider it suffering because of the greatness of what we expect to get out of it.
That’s where Christian maturity shows itself. Suffering in the eyes of the world becomes an occasion for God’s love, already poured into our hearts, to come out and show itself. God’s love in me can compel me to overcome all kinds of nonsense that I wouldn’t do for an employee of the month badge, free T-Shirt, or even my name engraved in stone somewhere.
We do things, and sometimes we suffer, but it’s all good when we are doing it in Christ. Our actions and our witness show off God’s love and sometimes that witness needs to suffer a little bit to really show off. Whatever you suffer through today or this weekend, make it a show for Jesus. Make it a fertile garden plot for endurance, character, and hope. Rejoice that Christ is an expert at making beauty out of such a mess, but His love for the mess won’t let Him do anything else.
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