Aug 06

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How could anyone teach that we are to rejoice in our tribulations? Isn’t it the case that “rejoice” means to be overly happy, to exult? Doesn’t “tribulations” denote the various afflictions of life, yea, all the afflictions one may encounter during his lifetime? One might understand the rejoicing at the birth of a child, a wedding announcement or one’s achievement; but it goes beyond the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:19, 20) to claim rejoicement in illness, accidents financial stresses and heartaches. What, then, could this possibly mean?
Does it mean that pain itself should be enjoyable? No, it could not mean this because Paul fled from the afflicting aggressors (Acts 9:23-25). Does it mean that we are not to take tribulations seriously; that we are to laugh off these situations? No, for Jesus prayed fervently that His crucifixion would pass from Him (Mat. 26:39), and He gave us approval and an example to weep with those that weep (John 11:35). What, then, does “rejoice in our tribulations”: mean?
The explanation is found in the words which follows that statement. We are to rejoice in tribulations because we know that tribulations can work patience. Thus, when we are going through the path of life and we encounter a tribulation which tries our faith, we, at that point, have the option of taking the way of righteousness or the way of unrighteousness. For example: If one is traveling down the road and the tire goes flat, then he may do, say or think that which is contrary to God’s Will, or he may handle the situation in a sober, mature and godly manner. If he chooses the latter, then his tribulation has worked patience or steadfastness to God’s Will.
If one was steadfast, he is then considered approved. God is all-knowing. He knows the result of every trial. If, during the tribulation, one chooses the way of unrighteousness, then he is not approved. Yet, if one chooses the way of righteousness, he is approved. Then, the verse continues, he who is approved, has hope. We have the hope of finally escaping the toils of this life, the hope of avoiding hell, and the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7).
Thus, we are to rejoice in our tribulations, not because the pain and heartaches are desirable, but because we have the opportunity to prove to our Maker that we are faithful, that we will stand approved and that we are worthy of entering into heaven.
Rejoice in our tribulations?–how could anyone teach otherwise? “We also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulations worketh steadfastness; and steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope” – – Romans 5:3,4.

Gary Henson

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