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Why Suffering?

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


Around A.D. 57, Paul wrote a letter to the early Christians in Rome as a kind of “sample demo” to introduce himself and to share his personal testimony with the Christians prior to his arrival.

Today’s scripture, which is a portion of that letter, packs a punch in terms of Christian concepts. Paul notes that we, “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:2). According to Strong’s Greek Concordance, the word “hope” translated from the Greek “elpis” more accurately means “expectation, trust, and confidence.”

Paul continues, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; endurance, character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:3). The word “suffering” in Greek means pretty much what we’d think it would: “persecution, affliction, and distress.” Our general understanding of the words “endurance” (a patient perseverance) and “character” (approval through testing ourselves) also balance out to our modern understanding.

Paul is saying that we can confidently trust that our suffering produces patient endurance and a tried-and-true testing of ourselves. This is nothing to be ashamed of since we all experience, and can relate to, suffering in life.

Suffering is hardly fun, but sometimes it is necessary. For example, if you have ever trained for a race, you know that half the battle is making it to the pavement. You must stretch, (and in my case, put the braces on your wobbly knees,) and gear up for a few miles of pain. However, the joy of crossing a finish line makes it all worthwhile! But you must go through the pain and suffering to get your medal at the end.

So it is in our daily life and walk with Christ. He is with us every step of the way to comfort and encourage us, even when it is painful. We can therefore say with confidence that He is turning our pain into progress and, ultimately, a heavenly reward.

Action Steps

1. Are you currently going through a time of suffering? At work? In your relationships? Consider if this current season is building something good in you in the long run.
2. Paul points out that even though we may suffer now, we are “reconciled in Him!” (Rom. 5:9-11). What is one way that you can celebrate your salvation and freedom in Christ today?

My patient, loving Father, I thank You for allowing me to go through the suffering of life. As I look back, I can now see that many of my times of suffering have actually brought me closer to You. I ask that You continue to work in me so that I can continue to hope in You and encourage others to walk closer with You in the process. My hope is Your ultimate reward: heaven and eternity in Your presence. It is in Your perfect name I pray, amen.