My grandpa was a man of few words. He would often whistle while helping his neighbors fix something, or whistle while doing the dishes for Grandma after dinner. But one phrase I remember him saying to me often was, “Keep your chin up tiger!”
Romans 5:2-5 says, “Through (Jesus) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Does that say rejoice in sufferings… really? Suffering produces hope? How?
The word “rejoice” comes from a root word which literally means “neck,” or “that which holds the head upright.” It refers to living with a God-given confidence that comes from having a proper perspective to deal successfully with a matter. To rejoice could be translated, “Keep your chin up tiger!” Looking back, I now realize when Grandpa was telling me to keep my chin up, he was telling me to whistle and be confident in the worries and discouragements. He was telling me that I’d get through this, because God had a right perspective and a good plan for me.
The Bible says we are to rejoice or “keep our chin up” in sufferings. Sufferings are difficult situations that create an internal pressure which makes us feel trapped with no way of escape. The Bible says these trapped and hopeless feelings bear a good fruit in our lives. They are actually for our good…?
The Bible says keeping the right perspective in sufferings produces three things: endurance, character, and hope. Endurance or steadfastness is God’s enabling grace that helps us to remain under the challenges He allots in life. Romans 14:4 says, “for the Lord is able to make (you) stand.” James 1:2-4 says it this way, “Count it all joy… when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Endurance or steadfastness comes in trials and sufferings when we come to a place of contentment that allows us to say, “The Lord is my Good Shepherd, I have everything I need (Ps 23:1).”
Character is a genuineness that comes from being approved through testing. Have you ever watched someone you respect respond in a difficult situation and think to yourself, “I think they can get through anything?” These are men and women of character, who have been tested and come forth as gold (Job 23:10). Psalm 66:10 says, “For You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.” Ephesians 4 says we should mature to the measure of the full stature of Christ, no longer tossed to and fro by the waves of this life. He created you for Christ-like character!
And Hope is to anticipate and joyfully welcome what is certainly to come. We rejoice in hope of the glory or good manifestation of God. The Bible says His plan for us is good, and we have hope because He loves us, He has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, and ultimately we are promoted to eternity with Him through faith in Jesus. The Bible says faith is the assurance of things hoped for (He 11:1). And faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord (Ro 10:17). If you need hope today have someone read the Bible aloud to you, or listen to an audio Bible. There is always hope. Remember, “He is able, He is able, to accomplish what concerns you today!” What thoughts of hope do you dwell on today?
So rejoice in sufferings, rejoice in hope, keep your chin up tiger!