Think with me about the word tribulation… If that is a hard word to get your head around, pick something like these: struggle, hardship. What words do you think of when you think of those words? Do you think of words like pain, suffering, or hurt? When you think of your emotional response such situations, what words come to mind? Commonly, we think of words like escape, flee, or endure. What did Paul think of? He thought of rejoicing!
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5:3-5
As we read these verses, it is easy to get wrapped up in the list: tribulation, perseverance, proven character, and hope. However, I want to think about the first few words, “we also exult in our tribulations.” Did you catch that? Paul declares that he rejoices in the tribulations that he faced! How can he do that? It wasn’t because he expected them to be brief or easy. It wasn’t because he could see an immediate blessing from them. So, why does he exult? He exults because of God’s promise. Paul believes God’s promise because of what God has done in Christ. He believes God’s promise because of God’s power seen through the working of the Spirit. He believes God’s promise because of God’s love.
Here’s the point – Paul believes God and it makes him do something. In this example, Paul believes God’s promise of salvation and so he knows that God is doing something great through his struggles. He doesn’t know because he can see it right now. He knows because God has promised it. God’s promise makes Paul live differently.
How about us? Do we respond to God’s promises the same way? Do they change how we see life? Do they change our attitudes? Do they change what we are going to do in our everyday lives? If not, what does that say about our belief? Let me give you a physical example… If you believe you are going on a trip, don’t you pack? Of course we do! We do it, not because the car is going down the street. (it would be too late by then!) We do it because we believe it is going to happen. Do you do the same with God’s promises? That is the crucial point of faith, isn’t it? So, let’s do something in response to God’s promises. Let’s believe!
Something to think about,