The command to rejoice in suffering doesn’t mean you sweep the pain under the rug and pretend it’s not there. Remember, we are also told to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. So God wasn't addressing your "cry–o–meter"! The whole idea of suffering being part of the earthly experience is unfathomable to say the least. Why any at all? The perfection in heaven assures no suffering, but here we have to face it head on and Jesus tells us how...with rejoicing! Right about here is where a lot of people jump off – but please don't. We tend to only look at the suffering part, but God is more interested in the end product of it all: PERSEVERANCE, CHARACTER and HOPE. That's a pretty good deal when you think of it. It's not the pain you rejoice in, it's not the difficulty, challenge or loss you rejoice in; it's the knowing that the opportunity for growth afforded by the suffering is to be celebrated. No one in his right mind votes for suffering. But if you're viewpoint towards it is broadened, then you can see suffering is more like going to the spiritual gym, "no pain, no gain" (Romans 5:3-5). Endure the fire... it produces pure gold!
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