Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
There may be other applications to these verses but here is one explanation that I have witnessed time and time again. The question I started out with when I was receiving revelation on this was, “What are tribulations?” According to Strong’s we are talking about affliction, anguish, burdens, persecution, trouble – literally the symptoms of pressure. When do we experience pressure, when exactly do these various instances have the ability to influence the quality of life that God desires for us to live by? Pressure seems to build up in us when we are not resting in Him. So when we are not at rest in Christ is when we experience pressure which produces these bad fruits of various sorts.
There is a promise though that as we remain faithful in laboring into rest we will go through a process that will produce the fruit of God in our lives. My explanation for this laboring into rest is going from a co-dependent relationship with God to a totally dependant on God relationship, which is going from trying to add or incorporate God into our lives to seeing God as our source for all things. As we experience tribulations, again because we are not fully resting in God quite possibly because ones heart is not fully persuaded of a truth, over time this builds patience, giving experience then causing us to have hope and hope in God will not fail because God’s love fills our hearts by Holy Spirit.
So one may ask what does this mean? As I said it is a process with the conclusion of increasing our ability, or possibly better said our natural state of being, to rest in God. It is a process of being fully persuaded in one’s heart and mind about the truths of God and the finished works of Jesus. Sometimes this can be a quick process and other times it seems to take forever, but the reality is the timing has nothing to do with God. The amount of time involved almost always has to do with our acknowledgement of our inabilities and surrendering to God’s capabilities. Replacing the pride that we have in our lives with God’s love.
Here is another way of looking at the same thing. Tribulations are a direct correlation to your independency from God. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that in his weakness God is glorified. In other words once we realize, acknowledge and accept, we are dependant on God because of our inabilities to produce, then God’s glory manifests in us and through us. So as we delusionally try to remain independent of God and tribulations come our way they will have whatever their maximum capacity is of influence over our lives until we get to the point where we finally realize that we alone are incapable of dealing with that situation and turn to God. Now to someone who already is at rest in God, totally dependant on God, most tribulations may not even be a speed bump in their lives. Yet as these same circumstances try to influence the life of one who is not dependant on God and does not already know the outcome, they will be moved by the circumstances since they are not able to see past them to the conclusion.
I am not trying to belittle in any way some of the tribulations people face but merely trying to show a process that one can go through and find healing or the power in overcoming by resting in what Jesus has done. Upon understanding the whys and hows I am hoping to remove the victim mentalities that we sometimes adopt in many cases because we feel defenseless or overwhelmed. A major factor in living what many call a victorious life is the simplicity of trusting Papa.
Paul said something that I have come to live by, but it was quite some time before it went from being just intellectual regurgitation to a way of existence. In writing to Timothy he told him the godliness with contentment is great gain. After being the source of much of my tribulations for many of my years in keeping up with the Joneses, I have finally started to learn to rest in God and in a very real way experience contentment. This does not mean that I do not enjoy the finer things in life when they are available, but regardless of my circumstances I have learned to not try to change the circumstances as we are taught to do, but learn to be content in them until I am trough them. Look at Paul’s life and you see this as there were good times and bad, but they did not influence his life in such a way as to where he lost hope. He always knew that no matter what God was now and intimate part of his life and that He loved him completely regardless of the circumstances. Again this does not mean we just let life pass us by, but instead of trying to force it to happen we can patiently wait on them to some our way. Remembering that the good things in this world are temporal anyhow, but the best things in life are eternal.