The memories flooded back when I rustled through some envelopes and glimpsed a sticker that said, “I’ve had an eye test.” In my mind I saw my four-year-old son proudly wearing the sticker after enduring stinging eyedrops. Because of weak eye muscles, he had to wear a patch for hours each day over his strong eye—thereby forcing the weaker eye to develop. He also needed surgery. He met these challenges one by one, looking to us as his parents for comfort and depending on God with childlike faith. Through these challenges he developed resilience.
People who endure trials and suffering are often changed by the experience. But the apostle Paul went further and said to “glory in our sufferings” because through them we develop perseverance. With perseverance comes character; and with character, hope (Romans 5:3–4). Paul certainly knew trials—not only shipwrecks but imprisonment for his faith. Yet he wrote to the believers in Rome that “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (v. 5). The apostle recognized that God’s Spirit keeps our hope in Jesus alive when we put our trust in Him.
Whatever hardships you face, know that God will pour out His grace and mercy on you. He loves you.