Are you suffering? Are you persevering? Do you understand what real suffering is? Or do you consider having niceties taken away is suffering? Do you understand what it means to persevere? Do you have hope?
Notice how today’s Scripture builds on itself like a set of stairs. We may look at it and discard it as garbage. If we do so, it’s because we don’t want to believe it. Our culture not only wants hope right now, it also wants to have its wants satisfied right now. We don’t want to suffer. We don’t want to persevere. We don’t want to build character. We want to jump right to the end and have it all right now.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in the real world the way we want. The very nature of how our world operates on this staircase of logic. We can deny it all we want, but it won’t change the truth of the Scripture.
When we suffer through hard times, we learn to persevere. There is only one other choice and that is to give up. If we don’t quit, perseverance will be ours. We may get by with a little of our own intestinal fortitude, but it becomes a more pleasant experience if we lean on God.
Notice that perseverance builds character. Have you ever known someone who has a wonderful character? Someone who perseveres through whatever is thrown at them, even if the end result is not what they wanted. Do you admire that person? Do you want to be like them? To build that type of character we must suffer and persevere. We must learn to trust God in all circumstances, especially those that we have no control over.
Once our character is built, we become hopeful. Don’t mistake the word hope for wish. We often wish for something with no real hope of getting it. Hope is trusting that what we hope for will come to pass. Hope is having an assurance that God will provide. Hope is knowing we are following God’s will and He is in control. Hope is far more than simple wishes.
Finally, notice that all of this is provided by the outpouring of God’s love for us through the Holy Spirit. What does that mean to us? It means we must invite the Holy Spirit to occupy our lives and guide us. It means we must trust God. It means we have to get out of the way, release our personal preferences and wishes, and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with God’s will.
I pray we all decide to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us. I pray we listen for His guidance in our lives. I pray each of us will decide to get out of God’s way and allow Him to take control of our lives. Trust God. Accept His love. Suffer, persevere, build character, and find true hope. It is given freely to you, if only you will accept it.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.