Is It Crazy to Think That We Can Rejoice In Suffering?

Is it crazy to think that we can rejoice in suffering?

Well, it might be crazy by the world's standards. Paul acknowledges that the wisdom of God is foolishness with men. And I would be happy to be called crazy by the world, provided that I had the approval of God.

But I don't think it's crazy by God's standards, because he is very clear in Romans 5 that we rejoice in tribulation because of something. It's not just out of the blue. We're not just stupid or blind. And it's not that we just don't feel pain. But we rejoice in tribulation because tribulation works patience and endurance, and endurance works a sense of approvedness, and approvedness works a sense of hope, and hope does not put us to shame.

God has purposes in all the pain that he ordains to come into our lives, and those purposes are always good for us and for his glory. And once we become so God-centered that we delight for God to be glorified above all things, we can rejoice that we are walking through this difficulty. We begin to see what it's working in our lives.

I could give story after story. Isn't it interesting that even as we are recording this it was just the night before last that Joni Eareckson Tada was interviewed by Larry King? She simply knocked him off his heals by saying, "I rejoice in the freedom I have found in this wheelchair for the last 40 or so years." And she is just one shining example of the kind of grace that can land in a person's life to discover how to rejoice in tribulation, how to be a quadriplegic and still rejoice that it happened and that it is still true.