“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Human hope tends to be extinguished by disappointments and setbacks. However, hope in God is not.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote a whole book of lamentations. He watched the downfall of the city of Jerusalem and the misery of its inhabitants, and this touched him deeply. His soul was bereft of peace and he had forgotten what happiness is (Lamentations 3:17). He was clearly in deep trouble. However, in Lamentations 3:21-22 Jeremiah says something surprising:
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end”.
Even in the midst of all this misery, Jeremiah called to mind the steadfast love of the Lord, and that gave him hope. The apostle Paul reports a similar experience. He even goes one step further and says that sufferings fuel hope: “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”. This is not a natural response to suffering. It is the result of “God’s love [that] has been poured into our hearts”.
Have you experienced suffering? How did this affect your hope?