Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I have been an avid gym goer my entire life. My parents were gym rats who raised gym rats and now I'm raising my own little rats..gym rats that is. No matter what your philosophy in the gym is, there is one universal truth: The greatest gains are made when the muscle is exhausted. You can pump out 25 reps with 5 lb. dumbbells and never see a change in your strength. Or, you can take 40 lb. dumbbells, knock out 8 reps, because 8 is all you can muster, and in a matter of weeks you will see noticeable change in your strength. Most people don't want to lift the 40 pounders. To them the gain is not worth the cost. Eventually they stop going altogether because they are seeing no change, no difference. They aren't getting better, they're simply wasting their time.No one walks into a gym able to lift the heaviest weight, but if they are committed, over time and training, they will be able to lift more than they ever thought possible. It's many small victories that will eventually win the war, if they don't give up.
I woke up this morning struggling. I woke up this morning overwhelmed. I woke up this morning wanting to quit. But the Lord says, "Now is when it counts. Now is when the greatest gains in your faith are being made. It's hard and it sucks (I'm certain God said "sucks" to me today) but if you quit now then all of your work will have been in vain. This is only a small battle in the midst of a great war for your soul, but it is a battle that MUST BE WON in order for you to be a conqueror!"
I don't go to the gym to waste time, I go to get results. I'm not walking out my faith because I have nothing else to do, I'm walking it out because I have a hope of something greater. In humility I stand before my Father and I say, "Lord, I'm so tired. I don't know if I can take another step." And in mercy He replies, "My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Rejoice in it, rejoice in Me.*" And so I do. I rejoice in a God who loves me too much to see me stay the same. I rejoice in a God perfects Himself in me, in the midst of my pitifulness. I rejoice in a God is able to do abundantly above and beyond anything I could ever hope for or even imagine.** IF, I don't lose faith. IF I don't give up. IF I choose to look at that 40 lb. dumbbell and say, "I may not lift you today, but day by day I am getting stronger. Soon I will."
* II Corinthians 12:9
** Ephesians 3:20