Rejoicing in our afflictions sounds like a strange concept, doesn’t it?
While it may sound strange, this is exactly what we, as Christians, are able to do. In fact, I believe it is what we are called to do.
As children of God, we have reason to rejoice even in our afflictions. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in having peace with God. We rejoice in fellowship with other believers. And, yes, we even rejoice in our afflictions, knowing that any affliction we experience on this earth is only temporary.
Rejoicing in our afflictions doesn’t mean we walk around with a plastered smile on our face, pretending that our afflictions don’t exist.
We don’t ignore or hide our afflictions.
We experience our afflictions with peace and steady confidence, rejoicing in knowing that they will produce in us more than they will take from us.
As this verse states, our afflictions produce endurance, which produces proven character, which produces hope. And isn’t hope the thing that gives us life to keep going?
Without hope all is lost, but with it we cannot lose.
In these last few weeks of Keith’s deployment I am looking back on this time of affliction and seeing how I was able to rejoice in it.
There were many mornings I wanted nothing more than to throw the covers back over my head and hide from the responsibilities that faced me. There were days of hard struggle. But, through Christ and Christ alone, I was able to keep moving forward, and, yes, even rejoice IN the affliction.
I have a tendency to gloss over the hard days, over the entire year and call it something other than an affliction. Renaming it makes it sound better, less dramatic. But an affliction it was.
I hope that in years to come, when I look back on this time, I will see how this affliction produced endurance, proven character, and hope in my life. I can see glimpses of that even now.
As I look forward to Keith’s return and the adjustments that will require, I am also praying for friends who are facing their own afflictions. My heart is especially crying out for friends who are facing a year long separation from their husbands because of deployments. I can pray for them better because this is an affliction I know well.
I pray that they will find peace with God and that in Him they will be able to rejoice in this affliction.
I pray that this affliction will produce endurance in them.
I pray that their endurance will produce proven character.
And I pray that their proven character will produce hope.
If this call to rejoice in our afflictions and promise of hope encourages you as it does me, you can download a print of this verse here.
Is there an affliction you are facing today? I would love to pray for you!