Yesterday, I got a chance to take our lifegroup from Universal Studios Singapore through our regular study of Pauls letter to the Romans, and our mission last night (Wednesday) was to get through the 5th Chapter… We couldn’t get past this particular verse from the chapter:
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (vs 3-4 – NIV)
What? We “rejoice in our sufferings?” I don’t know about you but when I stub my toe on that cabinet in my bedroom, the last thing I want to do is rejoice. So what does that mean – to rejoice in painful times?
Biblical Examples of Suffering
Moses leads the Israelites into the desert for 40 years with over a million people, and a lot of them complaining the whole time – but he is obedient to God to lead them towards the promised land. After all his suffering, he himself doesn’t end up stepping a foot into that land.
Job a God-fearing wealthy family man loses everything, except a whining wife. He was quoted as saying “The LORD gives and takes away. Bless the name of the LORD.
Jesus, well, you know what happened on the cross. He still said “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing…”
John the Baptizer – obedient humble prophet who was forerunner for Christ. Imprisoned, and shamefully beheaded.
And then there were the early apostles who all died cruelly as martyrs for the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So much for happy endings…
(Part 2 will feature what I’ve learnt from pastor Matt Chandler (lead pastor of the Village Church in Texas) and the announcement of his recent condition, and my own testimony… stay tuned)…