“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3–5, KJV 1900)
For most of us, the last thing we want in life is suffering. Yet, we all encounter it from time to time. Beyond health, conflict, hunger, loss, we must at times also endure persecution. While all suffering is uncomfortable, all suffering is profitable for the believer. This is what Paul goes on to mention here.
Not only do “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,” but we also rejoice in our present sufferings. You might ask how can this make any sense? Paul goes on to explain that “tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (Romans 5:3–4, KJV 1900) Enduring suffering produces patience, hupomone, referring to patient endurance, a capacity to continue under difficulty. Patient endurance creates in us experience, dokime, meaning a proving or in this case tried and proven character. This proven character produces hope. This all works to strengthen our faith.
The reason we can endure hardships is because of God’s grace working through the power of His Spirit given to us. He has abundantly poured out His Spirit in our hearts. This has manifested God’s love in us and the confident assurance of future glory. Thus, while not happy in suffering, we can rejoice, knowing that we have this hope of glory, and realizing that through the pain, God is using it to grow us into the ultimate goal of Christlikeness.