How many of us love and embrace suffering? No way, right? Our culture thrives on comfort, convenience, and avoiding pain at all costs. But what if that’s not the way Jesus wants us to live? Romans 5 tells us
Moreover let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure, affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance develops maturity of character. And character produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints, deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
How crazy is this?! Paul is telling us to rejoice in our sufferings! Maybe it’s because of what they produce for us and in us. He knew something we rarely get to see because of our cushy lives– trials actually are good for us because they let us look like Jesus through the development of our character. The Bible calls Jesus a man of many sorrows. Hebrews says He learned obedience through suffering, though He was the Son of God.
What if we started living the way Jesus did? We wouldn’t be running from pain, dying to ourselves or discomfort. Instead, the character of Christ would be freely formed in us and we would embrace it! This is the way to live! The best part is that we don’t have to do it alone, and we have a model to follow, found in the perfection of Jesus.
His life encourages us because He knows. He went to the cross. He conquered death. Because of this, on the other side was resurrection and power. He rose again! The same is true for us. When we embrace our trials, knowing that they are only allowed by our good Father so that they can test our faith, proving it to be gold, we can really experience the resurrection life on the other side of the cross. No one gets that resurrection power apart from Jesus, and He said, take up your cross and follow Me.
Let us get HIS eternal perspective! Let us stop running from pain but instead run to the Lord when we face trials and receive the grace and power available to us! On the other side is the glory of looking like Him, and real resurrection life.