Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)
Some people don’t want to go through the difficult things you’ve had to go, but they do want the glory that is revealed in you through those sufferings, such as endurance, which in turn, produces character, which generates hope. It’s like trying to win an award you haven’t earned; to be recognized for something you haven’t accomplished. The Bible is clear that as Christians we will continue to face hardships as a result of living in a broken world. And while most Christians embrace their sufferings as part of their calling and allow God to bring good out of their unfortunate circumstances, others try to evade the suffering but still expect to have a great impact in the world. They want a share in your success, but not your struggles.
One of my all-time favourite Bible stories is found in the book of Nehemiah. While the Jews were trying to rebuild their shattered city, they were mocked and threatened. Their enemies didn’t think that they could rebuild it. I love Nehemiah’s response, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it” (Nehemiah 2:20). Once those city walls started to go up, their enemies were afraid. But they had no share in the city’s success because they didn’t contribute to its growth. We simply can’t expect to get a crown when we refuse to carry a cross.