The above verses state that tribulations (troubles, afflictions) work patience. (Worketh is present tense, which means continually works.) The word patience in the KJV means "cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy; to stay under, remain, to bear trials, have fortitude, persevere." As we go through trials, we learn to endure them and persevere through them.
Why? Because patience works experience. Experience here means "trial, proof, test; by implication, trustiness." The more trials we experience, the more we learn to prove God, to put Him to the test and see Him work in our lives.
And lastly, experience works hope. Hope in the Bible does not mean "maybe it might happen, or I wish it would." Hope, according to the Bible, is "to anticipate (usually with pleasure); expectation or confidence." Basically, "confident expectation." Because we have seen the Lord work through our previous trials, because we have seen Him fulfill His promises and provide our needs, because we have received His perfect peace and all the grace that we needed in the past (if we stayed focussed on Jesus), we can endure through the current trials, and confidently expect that He is providently working all things out in our lives, for our good and for His glory!
Taken from the study, Is God Limited By Our Past?
written May 20th, 2002
By Jerry Bouey