Believe

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 given to us. (Romans 5:3 – 5)

The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two about unjust treatment, trials and persecutions, and maybe if he didn’t, we might wonder whether he was truly qualified to say, ‘we glory in tribulation.’

It isn’t a popular subject, unlikely to win me guest speaking invitations, but the Bible makes it clear that trials in this life are to be expected if we are a faithful follower of Jesus. And more than that, such trials are fruitful in the life of a believer in Jesus whose intent is to glorify our Lord.

Let me briefly suggest 3 great outcomes of our trials. We have read in the above passage how suffering produces Godly character, and of all things it produces hope. Peter also has something to share on the subject when he writes:

Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4:13)

How incredible to think that God’s Word declares that if we are ‘reproached for the name of Christ’ then we share in His suffering. That’s the second.

Yet, there is a third example of the fruit produced through tribulation. Maybe in much the same way that the centurion at the foot of the cross was moved to faith at how Jesus endured the cross, history is filled with people whose testimony is that they came to faith by watching how a believer, empowered by The Holy Spirit, exhibited hope, love, peace and steadfastness in times of suffering.

All this might be a good thing for us to remember at a time when so much is happening around us. Violence in our shopping centres, in our streets, even in our churches, along with threats of further restrictions to religious freedom being proposed in parliament.

Should these things concern us? Maybe we should be concerned, and certainly it should motivate us to prayer. But can I suggest that we might also want to look at this as a time of great opportunity. A chance for us to display the presence of Christ at work in our lives through hope, love, peace and steadfastness.

Trials produce hope. Trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and trials are an opportunity to be a powerful witness to the reality of our Resurrected Lord Jesus on display in your life. I’m not saying I want you to face tribulation – but I am saying that I pray that you will be ready to Glorify Christ when it comes.