Suffering Is Good For The Soul
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Peace made Possible
We give thanks to God, for He has made a way for us to have peace with Him through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the milk of the word of God. However, let us never forget these simple truths that help remind us of the grace and mercy of God. For in our daily walk, Jesus said we would get our feet dirty, and we would need to wash them.
As we progress in our walk with God as disciples of Christ, we must keep in mind that He is faithful. It is only through remembering even these basic truths that we correct ourselves and keep us averted from doing what is contrary to the word of God. If we were thinking about the word of God every second of every day, how much less would we sin?
Grace of God
We also can never remember too often that it is by faith that we gained access to the grace of God. When we are involved in ministry, even ministering to our own family, we can lose sight of the goal through the grinding day-to-day difficulties that wear us down. The enemy will try to take advantage of us and plant thoughts in our head that we need to earn God’s love or grace or mercy through what we do.
Since God’s gift is based on faith rather than works, we need to keep everything in perspective as we are pulled in many directions, and the pressures of life are heaped upon our shoulders. We must also remember that whatever God has called us to do, He will give us the strength, determination, resources, and time to complete. The grace of God has been given to us through faith in the Son. But that doesn’t mean we won’t suffer…
Honor in Hardship
In this next section, the author of Hebrews leads us through a progression that should help us to embrace our suffering. The life of a disciple is not easy and care-free; rather it is filled with adventure, hardship, suffering, and difficulty. It is through suffering that we grow in character.
As we are bound in the physical universe with these sin-disposed bodies, we are naturally impatient. Enduring suffering produces perseverance. Just as we train our bodies with exercise to run faster and farther, and to be able to life greater weight, we are trained by suffering to produce perseverance in our faith.
The training of perseverance leads to the development of character. Most of us need patience. Additionally, few have learned to be self-controlled with their tongues. Our mouths get us into the most difficult of situations. A lot of that would resolve itself if we were able to master what comes out of our mouths.
Character development is of great interest and importance to God, for He is character-driven, rather than emotion-driven. We too should learn restraint and strength so that we can resist the urges that will lead to our downfall. Additionally, as the image-bearers of God, we need to properly display the character of God. How can we do that when our own character is lacking? We can only fake it for so long before we reach our breaking points, and we have an epic failure of character. However, as character is developed in us, we are provided an assurance that we would not otherwise obtain.
Head towards Hope
The perseverance of character leads to the assurance of hope. The word hope is not used to mean the wishful desire of an outcome, but rather a steadfast knowledge that something will occur. People don’t hope that the sun will rise in the sky the following morning; they know it will. As long as we are here on Earth, we are assured that the sun will rise each and every day. We have hope that this will occur.
In the same way, character leads us to the assurance of the hope that we have in God’s character and both in His ability and certainty that He will follow through on every promise He has ever made. Nothing can stop Almighty God from fulfilling His promises to us, and fulfilling every prophecy that He has made, for God is not a liar, but the embodiment of truth. And as we experience the character of God, we also are assured of the certainty that God is who He says He is, and we can find peace in our hope of our faith.
And we are not ashamed of our hope, for God’s love has been poured out into our hearts. He has placed assurance of both His power and His grace in our hearts. We see Him act, and are assured of His claims of truth, righteousness, and certainty of His character. When we know these things in our hearts, we can shed all shame. For the outcome is more than certain: God CANNOT fail to deliver His promises. So we can endure even more with the assurance of His will being done here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I allowing God to train me through my suffering?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You discipline every child of yours. Any child who does not receive discipline is not one of Yours. Help me to not faint when You discipline me. Give me the strength to endure it, and help me so that I will not despise it. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but I know that You seek to reap a harvest of righteousness in my character from it. Give me the perspective that I need to endure all that You sovereignly allow into my life. And if You should allow sickness to nearly destroy my body, give me the strength to hold onto You when there is no hope. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.