Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Romans 5:3–4 ESV)
Suffering is a big word—for theologians, preachers, and all Christians including the unsaved. Unfortunately, religion has instilled in us that God somehow delights or is pleased when humans suffer. However, I will describe how God has interwoven suffering—which is not His original intent—into His redemptive plan because of the bad choices human beings have made since Adam.
God did not create human beings to suffer. His will is clear: there was no suffering in Eden, and there will be no suffering in heaven. After the fall, when sin entered the world, suffering became part of the human experience and integral to God’s redemptive plan. This plan began with Jesus dying on the cross and continues with us today.
In a prior Deshen Daily devotional titled “Six Ways We Can Suffer As Christians”, I discussed the various ways we can suffer as Christians, three of which are not God’s will(unnecessary suffering). Of the types of sufferings that fall within the confines of God’s will, there is the permissive suffering that God can use to transform and mature us. Paul explains this divine process of character maturity through hardship in Romans 5:3-4: suffering or hardship makes us patient, and patience creates character.
Since no one likes to suffer, our immediate response is to relieve our suffering. But when a solution tarries, we are bound to endure the condition. Patience is bearing an uncomfortable or painful situation without seeking relief outside God’s will. Few things reveal our real character as our attitude under pressure.
Patience, therefore, is God’s secret weapon for character development. Be watchful to pass God’s test whenever He does try your faith: do not complain or become bitter in hardship or seek a backdoor relief by violating God’s laws or breaking His commandments. If you look carefully, you will see that God might be using your husband, wife, child, pastor, friends, boss etc., to build your character!
Will there be suffering when we get to heaven? (See Revelation 21:4).
Apply the Word
Know that God will use some difficulties in your life to make you better. I can’t tell you which ones.
Ask the Spirit for the grace to be patient in hardships.