” … but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”Romans 5:3-5
“but we also rejoice in our afflictions, …” That is part of my bible verse today in my bible app. It’s a common one. I gloss over it a lot just to get to the end of that verse. I want the part where it says hope will not disappoint and God’s love has been poured out. That’s the good, juicy stuff. Please don’t make me rejoice in afflictions. Who wants that?
Affliction. The dictionary calls this a state of pain, distress, or grief. Also known as: misery. I call it: all of the above. You see, when I think affiliation I think of those days I had to watch one of my boys hold another of my sons, who had special needs, up to be sick in the PICU after chemo, mucositis, a cardiac arrest, and pain that I cannot comprehend. He then walked to the other side of the hospital bed and held me up. Not long after that he walked his other brother to the gift shop and held him up to for a toy and bring joy during those dang days. Hard days of affliction is not what I had hoped for my guys.
How do I rejoice in this affliction? How do I rejoice in the days after?
Anyone who has experienced true affliction has most likely gone on to endure. Days on end can feel like nothing but enduring, just getting through to the next day and the the next. Until one day someone says, “you get me.” They let you into their world because you understand their affliction. Endurance is producing character.
Now I don’t mean you are a character, because endurance can produce some characters, for sure. I have my days of being the kind of character no one wants to be around. But, character. Say it with a deep, noble sounding voice. It sounds better. Here the dictionary calls it a moral force. Heck, yeah, I am a not so pretty force to be reckoned with some days. But, I really want to be a moral force.
I’m not gonna lie, I can hang out in the character zone for a while. I want to work on my character. It’s a good thing, right? But, I can lose steam here. Why isn’t my life as easy as so-and-so? When will it get easier? What if …? Character without hope is just hopeless.
I think this is where that rejoicing really comes into play for me. If I stop rejoicing I lose hope. Or hope never comes. It’s almost a circular truth. You can’t have one without the other; no ending without beginning.
So I will rejoice. I will rejoice even in my afflictions.
Does this mean I didn’t have one of those epic air punching meltdowns somewhere in-between rejoicing and hope? No. That happened. And more are bound to happen if you know me at all. Yet, I will rejoice. It brings about hope.