If there was ever anyone who should have given up on his life’s pursuit, I think Paul would have been the ideal candidate. He said himself that no one could compete with the misery and suffering he’d experienced. (2 Corinthians 11:21-29) Yet with each injustice his resolve must have grown stronger – how else would you explain his persistence to spread the gospel? Paul excelled at “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”. (Phillippians 3:13) He didn’t just write those words, he lived them. He doesn’t offer advice on a topic he is unfamiliar with an that’s why those words are extra inspiring!
Are there any areas of your life in which you cannot understand why you have had to suffer or suffer tremendously? I know I can look back at my life and see many areas in which I was allow to suffer. Though times can be rough, the character that is built is worth it. Of course, it’s only worth it if you value such things, as I do. I believe that when we go to heaven, we take our character with us. I certainly don’t want to get to heaven with a greedy, rude, and self-centered attitude. I hope to get there having been refined by the fire through perseverance in difficult times.
For more on the character God desires, read about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23
For more about Paul’s wisdom on suffering: Romans 8:18-21 and Phillipians 3:7-11