Suffering produces Perseverance
Not only so, but we[a] 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.
Suffering is not something any Christian enjoys talking about much less enduring. But there are times in our Christian life when we are called on to suffer and sometimes that suffering is so deep, so profound that it ends up changing us forever. Suffering takes the Christian in various forms, a chronic or terminal illness, an impossible work situation, a devastating marriage decision, loss, pain, and the list goes on. The words of Jesus remind us.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Sometimes this verse brings comfort, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we still muddle through the why. Why do I have to suffer? Why do I have to experience this pain, anxiety, and sorrow? Why do I need to walk this path again?
Suffering comes to us all with the other party being anything but sorry or relief from a work situation or the illness that remains. In all this, I have learned something vital about suffering. I can choose how it affects me, I can choose how it influences me. Lysa Terkeurst wrote in one of her devotions this week- When we are faced with suffering we can deal with it in two ways, we can forgive the person or we can become unforgiving and bitter. These aren't new words or thoughts and yet they are still so profound. I wish I could say that I always choose to forgive. The truth is I still battle to forgive those who have hurt or harmed me intentionally or unintentionally but when I make the decision to forgive, oh, then everything changes. I experience joy, my faith grows, and I am made a little stronger for the next storm.
Would you join me in experiencing, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8)? Let's choose to forgive. After all, forgiveness is as much for you as it is for anyone.