And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4, NKJV)
Wow. What a powerful verse. It's so counterintuitive to human nature to "glory in tribulations." Even when I look at the chain that Paul constructs linking tribulations to hope, I have a hard time finding glory in my tribulations. But I can, because Paul's right -- tribulations lead to perseverance and perseverance leads to character and character leads to hope. It's like exercising. In order to strengthen muscles, the muscles need to encounter resistance. In order to strengthen character, we must encounter tribulations.
That doesn't make it any easier. Not when I'm faced with [insert current tribulation here]. But I work through it. Paul's words help me focus on the goal and the "big picture." Already today, I've received several notes from people who also found encouragement from this verse. Knowing that other people struggle with the same issues I struggle with is also encouraging to me.
If I ever resume the habit of memorizing Bible verses, this is one of the first passages I'm going to memorize.