God gives us a command that sounds pretty stupid. He says to rejoice in suffering. Whaaat? The command to rejoice in suffering doesn't mean you sweep the pain under the rug and pretend it's not there, duh! The whole idea of suffering being part of the earthly experience is unfathomable to say the least. Why any at all? Heaven's perfection assures no suffering there, but here we have to face it head on. And Jesus has the audacity to tell us to face it...wait for it, wait for it...with rejoicing! Right about here is where a lot of people stop reading, but please don't. We tend to look only at the suffering part but God is more interested in the product than in the loss and suffering: perseverance, character and hope. That's a pretty good deal when you think of it. It's not the pain you rejoice in, it's not the difficulty, challenge or loss you rejoice in; it's the knowing that the opportunity for growth afforded by the suffering is to be celebrated.