“we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:4-5.
Ten months ago, I was told that I could either get my iPhone now for double the price or wait until an arbitrary date to upgrade my service plan. As a matter of principle and self-discipline I decided to wait, and this week I was finally able to get an iPhone. While this is trvial example, I have wondered about Paul’s statement about perseverance, especially in a world of immediate gratification. Endurance, perseverance, and patience are all concepts that Scripture applauds, but are all virtues we try to avoid.
We would rather have shortcuts to life: We want to reap financial rewards sooner rather than later. We want to fall in love at first sight. We want to have diet fads that work in under 30 minutes. We want 40 days to find our purpose in life. We want immediate relief for the struggles that we will inevitably face.
If we do not experience struggle and disappointment in life, however, then we will not have the opportunity to persevere. Paul declares that it is through suffering that hope emerges. It is our faith in who God was in the past—a God who loves and cares for all of his creation—that allows us to preserve and gives us an identity as God’s children. As a result, we have hope that the God who was, is also the God who will be. That God’s love has been poured into our lives even if at the moment we scratch our heads wondering where God is.
Too often the church suggests that God will prevent us from facing disappointment, but in actuality it is in these moments of desperation, disappointment and struggle that we learn to wait patiently upon the Lord.
What are the areas in your life that you are facing struggles and disappointments? Why is it hard to wait?