3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I think we so often get it backwards. We think that those who have hope haven't gone through anything. It's so easy to convince ourselves that the reason he or she is happy is because they don't have anything to be sad about. According to the bible, that's completely backwards.
People that have hope have it because they've been through the fire and back. Those people know that God is God, and that He is a good God who loves them and desires them. He is a God who saves. They have hope because they trust God. They trust Him to send the money. They trust Him to bring peace. They trust Him for a new home or a new car or a new wife.
A little further into it, I find one more thing to be interesting. This doesn't just apply to what we call Christians; it applies to people in the world as well. Most people who are older and who have really gone through stuff (and I'm saying most, not all) realize that what goes around comes around. They realize that even though they don't have a job right now, they've been without a job before and found one before. They know that a death in the family sucks but eventually time heals. It's a universal concept.
One last point. C.S. Lewis wrote in "Mere Christianity" "If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole word is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest one, contain at least some hint of the truth." The above paragraphs lead me to agree with him. Everyone, even the most wicked person, has some hint or idea or piece of truth, and few people, if anyone, has it all. Interestingly enough we find that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot separate ourselves from God.