Steinbeck wrote something, once - I quote it every time my birthday rolls around:

Do you realize that I am twenty-six now? I don't. I don't feel twenty-six and I don't look that old, and I have done nothing to justify my years. Yet I don't regret the years. I have enjoyed them after a fashion. My sufferings have not been great nor have my pleasures been violent.
(emphasis mine)

My sufferings have not been great. This is certainly true for me. I've felt my unique sufferings, my own sadness, my minor physical ailments. So, in a sense, I'm writing on what I'm not quite fully qualified for, yet again.

So I'll be short. There's a right and a wrong (good and bad, even) way to suffer. The difference between the two is hope - right has it, wrong doesn't. And this hope is no small thing - no semi-confident belief that we're going to get through this present trial. As Christians, even in the worst circumstances, we have the ultimate hope of heaven to place our faith, our life, our loves in.

This is an easy point to speak simply on, because the hope I'm speaking about is just that, in one sense - simple. All-encompassing. Whether your suffering is a broken leg, a lost love (or a love never yet found), a oppressive job, or threat of death. Worldly hope thinks maybe things might change. Real hope - hope in Christ...knows that things are changing even now, and one day all will be perfect.

There's nothing left but to rejoice.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

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