Sunday someone asked me how I deal with the pain associated with the rare auto-immune disease I have. Good question, especially since I don’t like to take pills and am always experiencing some kind of pain. This person is themselves in a good deal of pain most days, and she was looking for a solution.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, many of His teachings on suffering went through my mind as I thought of a way to answer her. I knew from past witnessing experiences with her that she would probably mock or scorn the major tenants Jesus taught His followers about suffering…
2 Cor 7:5 “…we suffer in a number of ways.”
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
1 Peter 4:12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Phil 1:29 “For it has been granted (interesting choice of words) to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…”
1 Peter 1:6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
The one teaching that finally settled in my heart, and that I did (boldly) share with her, was the one I often remind myself of when the pain is at its worst…
Romans 5:3-5…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…”
I found her response interesting. She focused on “character” in relation to suffering….I felt compelled to redirected her to the end product of suffering, “hope.” Hope does not disappoint us.
“Hope in what?” One may ask:
The verse before, Romans 5:2, has already given the answer, “and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”