We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvationRomans 5:3-4, NLT
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.Romans 5:3-4, AMPC
Rejoice when we run into problems and trials?
Do you know anyone who is excited about problems? I surely don’t. It’s our human nature to run the opposite way. We don’t like anything remotely uncomfortable and usually have an aversion to pain. Why then, in this month’s scripture, did our brother Paul tell us to rejoice when, not if, we run into problems and trials? It’s because Paul, and the Lord know that the very things we try to run away from, i.e. trials and problems, produce this one thing you and I have need of in this life, and while we are waiting: patient endurance.
I came across this scripture again recently and it reminded me of the movie Bruce Almighty where Morgan Freeman plays God. I distinctly remember this one part in the movie where “God” is having a conversation with Bruce’s wife and says, “If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient?” This one scene forever shifted my perspective on patience. (It’s probably also the reason I don’t pray for patience anymore, lol!)
In this life, and definitely while you wait Sis, you will need patient endurance. Jesus already told us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33) so it is inevitable. Yet, that same trouble, or trials, hardships, and problems, help us to develop endurance. So we don’t necessarily rejoice in the sufferings but in what it produces in us.
Endurance, in the Greek, is defined as: “the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”
A few months ago, I said this to a friend, “A lot of times we pray for God to get us out of certain situations or to change the situation altogether so we don’t have to deal with it anymore. God recently convicted me about my prayers and led me, instead, to pray for endurance and the grace to endure.” It was His reminder that there was trouble coming that I couldn’t escape or avoid. This wasn’t a prayer of the flesh, but completely Holy Spirit led. (Trust me y’all. I would NOT have prayed for that!) He had also been talking to me this year about preparing and getting deeply rooted, not knowing that later this year, about a month ago, I would face one of the hardest things I have ever had to face in my 37 years. I didn’t know what was coming, but He knew.
As you meditate on this scripture for the month of December, consider the things you have been praying for recently:
- Have you been praying for patience? (You may be praying ultimately for trials…)
- Have you been asking the Lord to change a situation or get you out of something that is uncomfortable or painful?
- When was the last time you prayed for patient endurance?
Know that patient endurance is one thing we all have need of in this life. The next time you face a trial, see it not as something you want to automatically avoid, but instead as a blessing in disguise and God’s way of providing opportunities for His daughters to develop it. It will surely carry you in your seasons of waiting.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT, AMPC)
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