“1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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 5:1-5

Did you know that in the Greek, the word for rejoice in verse 2 –  “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”….is the same word for glory in verse 3 – “glory in tribulations…”

Rejoicing and glorying in the hope of the glory of God: yes. But they aren’t exactly the first words I think of when I think of my tribulations – or pressure – as the Greek describes it. In our modern vernacular we might say “being stuck between a rock and hard place.” There’s no place to go, no way out, and nothing we can do about it.  And for this we are to rejoice just as we are to rejoice in the hope, or expectation, of the glory of God.

How can we do that?

Just as we can rejoice in what will come as a result of our hope, our faith, our expectation: the glory of God, we can also rejoice in what will come as a result of our tribulations: perseverance…character…hope. Just as we wait for the glory of God Himself, we wait for the glory of God to be made manifest in ourselves through our sufferings.  It’s through pain and suffering that we’re conformed to the image of God’s Son.

Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as a runner who competes.  A lot of training goes into an athlete before competition, and spiritually speaking, tribulations are our  God-given trainer.

A runner runs until his feet bleed, his shins ache and his muscles spasm, but he doesn’t give up.  A boxer hits a speed bag, a heavy bag and a sparring partner until he’s bruised, bloodied and his knuckles are raw, but he doesn’t give up.

No matter what opponent you’re facing, don’t give up.   It may be more than you bargained for, it may leave you in tears and breathless, it may bruise your soul, but don’t give up. Trust in the One who sees you, the One who uses pain to produce in His children His own character.  Allow our loving Father to discipline and prepare you, to mature and perfect you for whatever He has planned – in this life and the next – so that you may run the race and win the crown.

Grace and mercy,