Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
One day my youngest daughter found a caterpillar’s cocoon nestled in the branches of one of our azaleas near the bedroom window. We put the thumb-sized shell and the small branch in a jar, sprinkled some grass clippings in the bottom and waited for it to hatch. Days later as I mowed the back yard, we saw signs of new life emerging.
Only one word adequately depicted the process – struggle. It appeared that this creature was doing everything possible to get through that tiny hole in the shell. A close look at its face gave me the impression that it was in complete agony and pain. What once was a haven of protection was now a prison to escape.
At times a streak of sympathy entered our minds. After all, who wants to watch anything suffer? Although we were tempted on more than one occasion to get a razor-blade to release it from its agony, no one went to get it. So the creature anguished before a public audience. However to our wonder, a beautiful butterfly emerged and flew away to freedom. And struggle was the process that liberated the creature to new heights.
Paul reminded the Roman believers who were undergoing sever trials in their day to remember the process God uses to build faith and hope into their character. Suffering humbles us and makes us look to God for help and endurance during the trial. So when struggle strikes deep within us, see how God uses it to build his values in our lives. It’s part of his plan to supply grace to help us in our time of need (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Like Daniel and his friends in the furnace (Daniel 3:22-29), remember God’s process. If you can’t take the heat, stay in the kitchen anyway. It’s for our good.