through suffering hope is built
We were never promised easy lives, with all of our devices and tools that make things easier, it’s tempting to believe the lie that life shouldn’t be so hard, but life most certainly is hard... at times... because we are human and the very nature of humanity is that we are flawed - and if our own flaws don’t create enough challenges, we were designed to love others and to want to be loved by others, other imperfect humans and there is no app or any amount of technology that can successfully navigate human relationships. Nope, life is not easy and God never promised an easy life either, can you imagine, there would be no shortage of disciples if He had. But God does know what really makes us mature in life and in love.... and that is sacrifice. And here is a truth that is undeniable, love without sacrifice is a fairy tale .... to love means to share in another’s pain... to be loved is to trust that another person will love you through the hard, gritty parts of life. It’s not all heartache and pain, but if you want to experience true love, sacrifice is a price you pay, but what is the alternative? Total self reliance? Closing ourselves off in self reliance reduces us to an oppressive solitude... so we love and we make sacrifices for the people we love, our parents, our siblings, our spouses, children and friends... and we do it because we were meant for these relationships of love between us and because before any of our suffering, He suffered because He loves us and He reassured us that our suffering would not be in vain.
Romans 5:3-5 tell us that “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I know this verse can feel like sandpaper on our modern sentiments about suffering because we naturally try to avoid suffering at all costs. But through suffering, hope is built in us. As our character becomes more like Jesus through suffering and trials, we know the victory that is ours.