What do rejoicing and suffering have in common? Nothing, if you asked someone walking down the street. But the Bible says that the two actually do go together for the believer.
Romans 5:3 “… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance….”
Suffering, by itself, is no good. But God is able take something bad and turn it into something good, positive and beneficial. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
The Greek word for perseverance in Romans 5:3 literally means "to handle pressure." Suffering puts us under a tremendous amount of stress and the Bible says that being under stress of suffering teaches you to handle pressure.
You cannot be successful in any field unless you learn how to handle pressure. When we see an NBA star sink a three pointer at the buzzer to win the game for their team, they make it look so easy that we forget that most of us would crack under that kind of heat. You make the shot and you're a hero; miss it and you're an overpaid bum. How do they do it? For them, it's all in a day's work. They have been in that situation countless times, and they have learned from success and failure how to handle the pressure of a close game.
In the story of David and Goliath, at first glance David seems to be an inexperienced kid who appears out nowhere to slay the giant, but that was not really the case. David could handle the pressure of facing Goliath in battle because he had endured similar pressure fighting lions and bears who threatened his sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-35). Enduring those pressure-filled situations gave him the strength to face the pressure of fighting Goliath.
You can rejoice in suffering because, at the very least, your problems will help you develop inner-strength. And inner-strength is one of the virtues suffering produces in our lives. It is the inner-strength that suffering produces that enables us to handle the uncommon circumstances that life throws our way.
We’ll look at another benefit of suffering in the next post.