We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.
The benefits of a right relationship with God do not just begin the moment we die. They begin right now. And one of those practical benefits is a consolation in present suffering.
In Romans 5:3, Paul said, “We also exult in our tribulations.” That word “tribulations” means “to be under pressure.” It is a word that referred to the process by which a large grinding stone would press olives and extract the valuable olive oil. That is a picture of tribulation, or being under pressure. And Paul said we can rejoice when we are under pressure.
Sometimes we use the word “tribulation” to refer to the persecution that comes from being a Christian. There is a very real persecution that many people around the country, and around the world, are experiencing now. I think we are going to experience it more and more. But we would be wrong to limit tribulation simply to persecution for our faith. The fact is, all of us who are Christians, or non-Christians for that matter, suffer tribulations. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation.” Sometimes our tribulations come from family concerns. Sometimes they come from money problems. Sometimes they come from health issues. Sometimes they come from problems at work. Paul was saying that no matter the source, we can exult in our tribulations. Why? If you are in a right relationship with God, then you have the assurance that the pressure, or problem, you are facing is not there by accident. It is not the result of an angry God who is trying to get even with you. No, that pressure is the result of God’s perfect and loving plan for your life.
If we are in a right relationship with God, then we can rejoice when we are going through tribulation, “knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
One thing I have found in more than 30 years as a pastor is that Christians who have been chiseled on by God, who have felt the blow of His mighty hand out of love, often look to the hope of Heaven. When people have suffered the loss of a job or the loss of a child or a marriage or their health, if they are Christians, it is amazing how those losses cause them to be disinterested in the things of this world and to focus on the things of Heaven.
The Bible says when you go through tribulations as a Christian, God uses those trials to hammer out anything in your life that is not like Christ and to fix your hope on the assurance of eternity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Without a Doubt” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.