Joy In Suffering (Romans 5)

I love today’s reading (Romans 5) and especially verses 1-5. In fact, they were almost the first verses I ever memorized. But this morning I was surprised by what I got out of these verses.

Lately I’ve had a, “Why does the world have to suck so bad?” attitude. “Hope” in the Bible is to have a certainty about something in the future that we can only wait for now. Verse 2 says that we have hope (certainty) that in the future God will be appropriately glorified (and if we really love and worship God, that’s very exciting for us).

Verses 3-5 tell us that we have joy when we suffer because, ultimately, suffering causes us to hope. It’s like suffering rips our attention away from now and forces us to look forward. As we suffer we look forward to when we’ll get to fully live in God’s presence, and when He’ll be fully glorified.

And so, if we didn’t suffer, we would be tempted to just stay focused on now. We’d be tempted to try to find our joy in our current circumstances, rather than what’s going to happen in the future. And so it’s like we’d be trying to make our current crap hole Heaven, instead of recognizing that only Heaven is Heaven. And, therefore, suffering should be joyful.