“Rejoice in What?!?”

BIBLE READING: Acts 20. 1-3, Romans 4-7
                There are many occasions in our lives that give us reason to rejoice.  The birth of a child, a promotion at work, obedience to the Gospel. These are all occasions in which rejoicing would be the perfectly acceptable expression of our feelings.  Paul, however, gives us a most unusual reason to rejoice; our sufferings.  That is right! Paul says that we have reason to rejoice because of our sufferings (Romans 5.2).  The reason we can rejoice is not because of the pain that is associated with our suffering, but because of what the suffering produces… patience.  Let me give you a few examples: a mother can rejoice over the suffering that is associated with giving birth because of the child it produces.  An athlete can rejoice in the pain of the practice, because of the feeling that comes with a victory.  You see, in a lot of cases the blessing that we receive comes from the pain in which we must bear.  That is what Paul is trying to teach the church at Rome.  Yes, you will have to endure suffering, but rejoice, because your suffering will give you endurance which will make you stronger in your faith.  That endurance will help produce a certain character that you will now obtain.  That character will give you hope, and just as Paul says in Romans 5.5 “hope will not disappoint”.   Today we can rejoice in our sufferings because we know that those sufferings will give us a hope of rest in heaven one day.  So, take a just a moment to thank God for those things you have suffered, because if we endure, we will not be disappointed.     
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