Theology Thursday: Rejoice in suffering?

August 09, 2018 / by / 8 Comments

Corporate Chaplain Jim Miller

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

By Pastor Jim Miller
GCU Corporate Chaplain

Oxymoron. You know, using words together that would seem to be self-contradictory. Like Microsoft Works. Jumbo shrimp. Or, in this case, rejoice in suffering.

Wait, what? Now I get what the word rejoice means. I did an extensive cross-referencing of the word a couple of years ago, pages of verses that helped define what the word is expressing. (What, that doesn’t excite you?) And what I found is that not only is rejoicing a very noisy thing (shouting, singing, praise, joy), it’s also a very glad type of thing, a positive emotional response — you can go almost so far to say it means happy. 

So … happy when I suffer? How is it that I can be glad that I’m suffering?

Well, first, it’s because we can be confident that God is using our suffering in our lives to bring about something that we need — it produces endurance and character and hope, and we need that! But it’s also possible to rejoice in suffering because we know that God is a good Father who loves us and is concerned about everything we are going through.

We don’t have to fear. We don’t have to be anxious. We don’t have to despair. Our suffering is bringing about something essential in us. And the God who cares about us is beside us in the midst of it. And that’s just terribly good and awfully nice.


The next all-employee Chapel is Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Building 71, first floor meeting room. Scott Hovater, online faculty in the College of Theology, is the speaker.

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8 Responses
  1. Tait

    Amen to everything you said so well above…

    AND, rejoice, because even through the suffering, as long as we remain faithful, we still qualify for salvation (and every unfathomable blessing that entails!) through the grace of Christ… and that gives me hope… and that is something for which I can rejoice!

    Aug.09.2018 at 11:45 am
  2. Trevor Crump

    Wow, I thought this week’s Theology Thursday was great. I thought Pastor Jim Miller really showed how faith and trust in God can turn our most sorrow moments into some of our strongest and happiest moments. After reading the article, I don’t believe that that means that we are immediately rejoicing following a tragedy or any other moment of suffering, however, when that time passes, it will be immediately evident that God saw us through. For this, we should rejoice and just remember to have and hold faith in Him.

    Aug.10.2018 at 12:21 am
  3. Tyler Rich

    This was just a great read. Rejoice and what it means to so many different people and how there are so many ways to actually rejoice. This was an eye opening read for me and I am sure for so many others. We tend to look past a lot of this in our busy lives when really we all need time to rejoice. God most definitely has a way of using our times of sorrow and turning them into happiness. This was just a great little read for this Wednesday evening and really helped me take the time to just think about god and rejoice in this moment.

    Aug.15.2018 at 5:08 pm
  4. Shana

    A lot of the time as we are suffering we are experiencing something we may have never been through before and we are learning. Learning new things about ourselves or maybe others that have hurt us. As we learn new things it can be enlightening. We can feel joy in the knowledge we are gaining from the pain. Through many times of my mistakes I have learned and grown more than I ever have and while maybe it was difficult at first when I look back I can rejoice in my new found knowledge and understanding. And not to mention, when we rely on our Savior during our times of need he is there for us and we can feel nothing but good about the fact that we always have someone special in our corner cheering us on or up.

    Aug.15.2018 at 6:04 pm
  5. Glenda Pugh

    This really hits home with me. All of this is true, sometimes it is so hard to understand this as we go through a difficulty. I can truly attest that we do grow throughout suffering and trials. I can look back now and see how my character has changed and how God has molded me after the passing of my husband. I can’t wait to read the next Theology Thursday.

    Sep.04.2018 at 6:49 am
  6. Tawny Thomson

    This theology was really interesting to me in the fact that you can become a happier person after times that are rough, sad, or difficult in your personal life because these trials are what makes you stronger the next time around. I like to think of the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and God sees everyone when they make it through good and bad times as he is always guiding them down their rightful path.

    Sep.07.2018 at 7:15 am
  7. Elly Lenton

    I really agree with the statement, to rejoice in suffering. For every difficult situation, I try to find the good in it. I believe that something positive will always come out of something negative. It might take time for us to see the good in a negative situation, but I think there is always something for us to learn and gain with everything that we encounter.

    Sep.09.2018 at 2:12 pm
  8. Sean A Ambrioso

    I think the best way to think about this is to consider working out in a gym. As a person works out they are putting their muscles through a strenuous experience and the extra stress often causes soreness. However, after continued, often frequent, stressful experiences the muscles become stronger. Granted, as any gym bro will tell you if a person stops just because it hurts then they will never become stronger and when it stops hurting it is time to push harder. The same is true with a person’s spiritual walk, if they quit finding joy in God just because life has become hard then they will never become closer to God. The hard and painful times are what help a person grow in faith the same as a hard work out helps build strength. Furthermore, if a person has never surpassed/ experienced the crushing weight of a bench bar on their chest they will never think they need a spotter, nor will they be able to help other surpass the challenge.

    Just something to consider,


    Nov.03.2018 at 10:20 pm
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