Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 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. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Suffering in itself is not good, but the result of suffering can be extremely valuable. Athletes suffer intense workouts to produce stronger bodies. Soldiers suffer intense training in order to endure the emotional, physical and psychological stress of combat. The intense suffering of Jesus on the cross produced a new relationship with God rooted in hope. We should not rejoice in suffering because suffering itself is good. We should rejoice because our faith is being strengthened, our character is being developed and all the things we hoped in, besides Jesus, are being stripped away making us stronger. If you are suffering physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally, is God trying to strip something away that is of little or no value? Maybe God is asking you to trust Him with more of your life? Maybe God is asking you to trust that He really does love you and that He will not disappoint you? Maybe your suffering is producing hope?