…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
Picture this: A young Christian goes to an older believer and asks, "Will you pray that I may become more patient?" Putting his hand on the young man’s shoulder, the older man begins to pray, "Lord, send this young man problems in the morning; send him pressures in the afternoon; send him…. " Just then the young believer blurted out, "No, not problems, not pressures, I asked for patience." "I know," said the wise Christian, "but it's through dealing with problems and pressures that we learn patience."
Only a believer who has faced distress can develop perseverance, the ability to remain steadfast under difficulties without giving in. That in turn develops character. When the apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome that "suffering produces perseverance" he was speaking from personal experience. He had suffered beatings, whippings, stoning, shipwreck, and persecution. Yet he remained steadfast in his faith and did not shrink from his responsibility to preach the gospel.
If you are facing a difficult test know that everything that happens to us—whether pleasurable or painful—is designed to help us develop Christlike character.
Your pastor and partner in ministry,