And not only this, but let us also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Every believer is promised difficulties.
I am going to leave that sentence by itself on the line above because I need to meditate on that truth and really apprehend it. Paul suggests an alternative to the sulking and moping to which we are predisposed: exultation. The Greek and the English rendering actually line up rather well on this term. To exult is to leap for joy; to be so suffused with excitement that one cannot contain it and must give some external expression to that joy. The Greek term, according to the concordance, means much the same thing. Paul suggests that we exult in our tribulations. Why?
Because tribulation can, if we enlist it, begin a process. Tribulation can engender perseverance which can forge a good character which gives us hope in the midst of difficult times. And the hope spoken of in The Bible is not the same as when we say “I hope ______.” Hope, as spoken of in The Bible, is an expectation of something. I understand it as something akin to a pregnant woman saying that she hopes she has a baby. The normal process of things will result in a baby. She is reasonably certain that she will get what she hopes for. If what I hope for is Christlike character and a hope that will not disappoint me, then tribulation is the prescription.
Another reason to exult in our tribulations is that it is the Christlike thing to do. Scripture tells us that Jesus determined to go to the cross for the joy set before Him. He was taking the long view. He saw past the tribulation of the crucifixion and on into the ages ahead wherein His suffering would bring myriads into right relationship with His Father. He saw an eternity of fellowship with those He redeemed. He saw joy and He hoped (surely expected) that joy would follow on the heels of His suffering. I need to take this same view. Certainly, the tribulation is not pleasant — no discipline seems pleasant at the time (Hebrews 12:11) — but the results of enduring are well worth it.
Let me take the long view; the view of my Savior and those who walked close with Him and see my light and momentary afflictions as achieving an eternal glory.