The Greek word for rejoice is kauchaomai. This big word is a verb, which implies action. It's an ongoing thing. It means:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (NIV)
The Greek word for suffering here is thlipsis. This word means:
1) a pressing, pressing together, pressure
Who among us has not experienced suffering in the forms listed above? The pressure of life is largely due to sin in the world. We live in a fallen world and are under the curse of the land and people given by God back in the day when Adam and Eve made a very wrong choice. We were not promised a life of ease and care-free living here on earth, but what we are promised is that if we trust in God He will see us through our suffering. He will never forsake us.
The Greek word for perseverance is hypomonē. It means:
1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance
Enduring suffering is not an easy task. We are taken through grief, sadness, shock, hurt, anger, confusion and a whole list of emotions that could easily fill a book. If we remain steadfast and endure, learning to be patient as we go through these, we are promised a reward.
The same word for persevere is used in Romans 5:3-4! Perserverance has its rewards. God has promised to reward us as we persevere and endure our trials. It's not easy to go through them but God is with us every step of the way. He never abandons us as we endure.
Whatever our trials are, we must lean on God to get us through them. He will help us to endure.
The Greek word for character is dokimē. This precious noun means:
1) proving, trial
We are living proof and have been approved and tried by God through our rejoicing, suffering and endurance.
One of the biggest trials in my life that I faced was infertility and the loss of a child to miscarriage. Sydney Michel was born and went to be with the Lord at an early age on July 20, 1998. Because I persevered, not by my own strength but by God's, I am now able to help and encourage other women who have gone through this same tragedy. I have been given a gift to find words to strengthen them and lift them up and encourage them that loss is not all there is. There is a hope for them yet. I've also endured some emotional and verbal abuse as a child from an alcholic father. My father is a recovered alcoholic, praise the Lord, and I have been able to take the lessons I have learned through the suffering of that period of my life and help others.
I love this next one! Hope! Oh, precious hope.
1) expectation of evil, fear
"...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." ~ Psalm 30:5 (NIV)
Love is the string that wraps this sequence of suffering, perservance, character and hope all neatly in the box in the end.
The Greek word for love in this verse is agapē. It means:
It's root word is agapaō, which means:
God pours this kind of love into our hearts for others. He gives it to us through the power of His Holy Spirit. He is the epitome of all these things and gives us this love to extend to others as we have gone through suffering, perserverance, character and hope.
This love speaks of faith and hope that drives us to rejoicing through the suffering, propels us into perserverance, enables our character to be developed and beckons us to hope. Love is the foundation of the whole sequence of these events.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. " ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
R - Reach out to God and to others for prayer during suffering, no matter what the cause. "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven." ~ James 5:13-15 (NIV)