3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; character hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out this love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
What is the context of this passage?
It might be helpful to go back to the beginning of the chapter:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans was written to Christians in Rome, who were, no doubt, under going persecution and needed some support and encouragement to persevere.
Today, many of us face difficulties including persecutions of many sorts. We all need the comfort of knowing someone is on our side. And not just anyone, but God Himself. In verses 1 and 2, Paul establishes our relationship to God “we have peace with God.” He also explains why we have peace with God “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Verse 2 ends with “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
In verses 3-5 hope actually starts with suffering, which is followed by perseverance. We make it through the tough stuff. And after perseverance comes character. It would seem to be character in terms of moral values and fortitude. And that character produces hope. That isn’t the “I hope it will be sunny tomorrow.” It is a hope in the unseen – a sure hope of what God will provide because of His promises to us – here on earth and eternally in Heaven.
What does this passage mean to me?
As I indicated before, perseverance has been an integral part of my life. I have been blessed by God, but I have also had more than my share of difficulties and challenges – many coming at the same time. With God’s help and strength, I have persevered through my troubles. And this perseverance has strengthened me. I can make it through because I have made it through. This gives me hope. Hope that no matter what life decides to throw at me tomorrow, God will be with me and He will help me get through it.
It is also a reminder that once I have persevered through this life here on earth, my ultimate hope is for an eternal home in Heaven. That is definitely worth persevering for!