We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Do I enjoy suffering?… No. Do I like to see my prodigal suffer?… No. If I knew that they (or I) would learn invaluable lessons from suffering, would I want to change it?… Certainly not.
For the first-century Christians, persecution and suffering was the rule rather than the exception. In order to withstand and be victorious, they had to learn to overcome. Paul knew that the only way to learn to overcome to the point of rejoicing, was through practice.
For me, at times God seems to be lovingly saying, “you will learn through this, so I’m going to allow it”. I wouldn’t trade for the things my prodigal or I have learned while suffering. Suffering develops perseverance, which strengthens character, and all along we are learning to deal with difficult circumstances in His strength. That’s where our hope is produced. Hope is always about the future.
So, as we pray for our prodigal, we do it with hope….
We also rejoice in ______’s sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into ______’s heart by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given him/her.