“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Glory in” – to boast; I glory (exult) proudly (Strong’s 2744 – kauchaomai)
“Tribulations” – persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation (Strong’s 2347 – thlipsis)
Let’s be real honest here . . . this is not the passage of scripture that we look to for all the warm fuzzy feelings. Paul is telling us here to “glory in” tribulations . . . in persecution . . . in affliction . . . in distress . . .
I’ll be very clear. I don’t often find myself in this place. I don’t find myself boasting in things not going my way. I don’t find myself exulting in the hard.
While I’ve been able to see so much good in this crazy year that is 2020, I don’t think anyone can look at this year and miss that there has been some tribulation . . . some persecution . . . some affliction . . . some distress . . . and like most, there have been plenty of moments when I’ve wanted to just quit this whole year (not that you can really quit a year, but believe me I would’ve if I could’ve, and for me, quitting is more of a mindset than an action). Regardless, even with being able to see the good, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’ve “gloried” in these past 8ish months and the tribulations that accompanied them. Not even close. But I recently heard someone say, “Let’s not spend so much time wishing this year away that we miss what God is trying to do here.”
And yet, if we are to do what Paul says in Romans 5:3-5, we shouldn’t merely be surviving we should be glorying in the hard. We should be rejoicing in this whole, weird and strange, year. Why? Not because of the tribulation itself. But because of what can come from this tribulation.
Tribulation produces perseverance . . . endurance . . . steadfastness . . .
Perseverance produces character . . . in a world where people want to quit as soon the “going gets tough”, we desperately need the development of character. Because it’s that character that will see us through time and again.
And here’s the great part, every time you push through . . . every time you refuse to quit or give up in the face of tribulation . . . every time you persevere through the hard and allow character to be developed, you also get the benefit of hope. Hope that walks with you through each subsequent trial knowing that God will see you through. We are going to face trials and tribulations in this world. Jesus even said it, and rather than avoid them or hide from them or deny them, we need to face them.
When my son was four, we, maybe, a lot intentionally and a little unintentionally took him on a rather long hike in the Smoky Mountains . . . we knew it was long . . .we . . . okay, I . . . miscalculated how long. We passed no other children, much less four year olds on this hike, and it was definitely a challenge for him. Yet, no matter how difficult it was, he persevered. He never once sat down on that trail and tried to quit. As his little legs propelled him forward, and we encouraged him that he could, indeed, finish this entire trail, he could be heard repeatedly saying, “Never quit! Never give up!” And he didn’t. This was not only a moment of perseverance, but an experience that instilled character in my young four year old. He learned the importance of and the reward that comes from seeing something hard, something trying, through to the end.
And each time he perseveres through another challenge or tribulation . . . learning to play basketball, completing a difficult math assignment, writing a research paper . . . each time we come alongside him, and encourage him (and also occasionally say, “Hey bud, you’re doing great. We’re proud of you, and because we love you, we aren’t going to let you quit.”) . . . a little more character is developed in him. And beyond that a hope, and a confidence in that hope, that carries him through each trial and challenge that is to come.
So when you’re walking through tribulations, glory in them . . . glory in what they’re doing in you . . . glory in persevering . . . glory in the character that is being developed . . . and glory in the hope that comes from walking through and coming out on the other side of something hard. Because that’s when we really realize where our hope is found . . . in a Savior and a Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit that are unchanging and unwavering in the midst of an ever changing and very unsteady world, and no person or thing, no trial or tribulation, no heart ache or heartbreak, no hard moment, season, or even year, can take that hope away.
Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author