‘We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ (Rom 5:3-5 TNIV) James tells us ‘you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ (James 1:3-4 TNIV)

What are the blessings produced through our patient endurance of trials and testings?

1. We learn to persevere in our faith. There are some things we just can’t learn in a hurry or in the good times when the sun’s shining and all’s as it should be. Some lessons we can only learn in the dark, but we learn perseverance and doggedness in these trials.

2. Our characters are developed. We are refined. Peter’s comments on the reasons for the trials we go through also mention the benefits we receive from them: ‘These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.’ (1 Peter 1:7 TNIV) We learn to trust God more through the trials and our faith is strengthened and refined. The result is that there is praise, glory and honour given to God.

3. Hope flourishes in our hearts as a result of the deepening revelation we have of God as all-wise, all-knowing, all-trustworthy and all-loving. We discover something new about God, just as Abraham did, when we go through a particular situation and come out at the other side finding that He is more than enough to meet all our needs. Finding God’s sufficiency for every aspect of our lives is a great blessing indeed.

4. We inherit the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:10-12 TNIV) Sometimes we feel we can’t see any reward or benefit or blessing in this life, but when that’s the case, we need to remember the timescales that God is involved in. He is not bound by time in the way that we are.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor 4:17-18 TNIV) The Message version translates these ‘light and momentary troubles’ as ‘small potatoes compared to the coming good times.’ Let’s remember that God is with us at all times (see Isaiah 43:1-3 TNIV) and will not let us go.