“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The Apostle Paul tells the Romans that access to God’s love is especially available through suffering. Suffering builds character that makes one’s heart especially susceptible to the love of God. You see, in God’s Kingdom misery is not necessarily the antithesis of joy as we normally see it. In God’s Kingdom misery can be the bearer of joy, the path to fulfillment. Desperation often points the way to hope and misfortune can open the door to blessedness. Suffering is often the divine mechanism through which we receive God’s love because suffering can produce hope for a better day or a better way. Suffering establishes a framework for living for the future in the present. In God’s Kingdom our lives are not defined so much by our present circumstances but by what will be our circumstances in the future. So this note of encouragement from the Apostle Paul indicates that it’s not so important what we are when we encounter God, but what we are becoming because of God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.