March 28, 2018

Rejoice! Savor God’s Sweetness in Your Suffering!

Romans 5:3–5

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Not only that, but 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.

Rejoice! Savor God’s Sweetness in Your Suffering!



Bio | Kristen Belveal

Hello, Journeyers! My name is Kristen Reed, and while I adore comic book movies and rock music, writing is one of my absolute favorite hobbies! As an author, I've written many fiction books/novellas and a Bible study. Scripture, beloved authors, and classic fairytales influence my writing, but my own life experiences have also inspired me. Knowing God can use my past and present afflictions to encourage others through my writing and serving is just part of why I can rejoice in my sufferings and not lose hope during hard times. I hope y'all feel the same way after today's devotional!

Central Truth

When you lean on God during difficult times, He can use your suffering to sanctify you, remind you of the hope you have in Christ, and make you stand out as a light in the world. Who wouldn't rejoice in that?

Devotional | Romans 5:3–5

Christians have a lot to rejoice in, such as being adopted by God and justified by His grace because of Jesus Christ! According to Paul, we can rejoice in our sufferings as well. Notice, he didn't say to rejoice...

Christians have a lot to rejoice in, such as being adopted by God and justified by His grace because of Jesus Christ! According to Paul, we can rejoice in our sufferings as well. Notice, he didn't say to rejoice despite or after, but in our sufferings.

This is convicting because Paul knew suffering! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 Paul wrote about being beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, and more. According to tradition, he was eventually martyred.

So how do we put his words into practice? Philippians 4:6-7 is a great place to start! These verses mention anxiety, but Paul's instructions to turn to God with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving to experience the peace of God still apply to suffering in general.

By reminding ourselves of God's character and promises in His Word and inviting Him into our suffering through prayer, we feed our faith instead of our feelings. Through Scripture, God can direct us (Proverbs 3:5-6), comfort us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), and remind us that Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).

During a rough season in 2017, God showed me how to endure by helping me inform my heart with truth instead of giving in to my emotions. He also sweetly reminded me that I will experience fullness of joy in His presence (Psalm 16:11) because Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). That season literally ended days before I wrote this. Knowing I could very tangibly use that tough, sanctifying experience to encourage others helped me take heart and persevere faithfully.

I'll finish with a few words on Acts 16:25. In this verse, Paul and his companions were singing hymns and praying at midnight in a Philippian jail. One of my favorite things about this passage is that the other prisoners were listening to them! If we learn how to suffer with hope and rejoicing, we'll look very different from people who self-medicate, lash out, or lose hope during hard times. As we cling to God, He may use our suffering to give us the chance to share the hope we have in Christ with others.

That's definitely something we can rejoice in!

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you see suffering as an inconvenience or an opportunity? Why?

2. What coping mechanisms do you tend to pursue during hard times?

3. What does your prayer life currently look like? Do you pray more in good times or difficult times? I recommend the Echo Prayer Manager app (echoprayer.com) if prayer reminders would help you pray more!

4. Do you have a group of Christians who can help support you during difficult seasons? If so, how authentic are you with them about your struggles? If not, take some time to research how you can join a group through your church.

5. How are you doing at writing God's Word on your heart?

9 Comments available

Elizabeth Lariscy almost 3 years ago

Thank you Kristen for your inspiring devo! I appreciate the action provoking discussions! I am ready to purse Him deeper! You greatly remind us to lean on Heavenly Father in difficult times while also praising Him and thanking Him! Oh Jesus thanking for saving us!

Sue Bohlin almost 3 years ago

Excellent devo, Kristen. The Lord used you to bless me this morning. I will use some of your points on suffering well to close out a message I’m giving on the problem of evil and suffering at a women’s retreat next month. How do we REJOICE instead of RESENT when suffering crashes into our lives?

(By the way, I’ll be giving the same message that I taught at Women’s Bible Study in January: http://www.watermark.org/message/5202 )

Mike worley almost 3 years ago

Kristen, Thank you for the reminder that a important part of our faith is to be able to rejoice when times are hard. I need that this morning. Mike

Christina "Chris" Gray almost 3 years ago

Thanks for encouraging us all in God’s truth and the great opportunity we have for God to grow us into the image of our risen Savior Jesus through the difficulties, trials and to be able to share this hope in us with others as they go through trials. Glory to God! Keep on!

greg jones almost 3 years ago

“Feed our faith instead of our feelings”, that’s some great insight. Some suffering is outside my control but most sufferings I have control over. They usually start out as what could be described better as tensions. How those tensions are fed determines my suffering or my faith. Faith is hopeful, dreadful is suffering, both are unknowns. One way we experience the unseen God in the present is by how we experience the unknown in the present. When that is realized, no matter what else I might be feeling at the same time, secure in faith is my foundation. I am hopeful over dreadful through the company I keep in prayer.

Michael Scaman almost 3 years ago

Come lift up your Sorrows by Michael Card https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TciR2ITXbaY

People disagree on what Jesus did on Weds, his arrest plotted. Having wept over Jerusalem He may have retreated to Bethany remaining all of Weds, or may continued to teaching in the temple. Among the last recorded interactions was when some Greeks ‘wanted to see Jesus’. Jn 12:20 They were a foretaste of salvation coming to all men which is hopeful but also at the same time Jesus was troubled by what was coming

Jesus rejoiced and suffered - so do we. Rejoicing -the time has come for salvation to go to all types of people. Troubled - His soul was exceedingly troubled on the other. Jn 12:24-25,27 A voice from the Father for the crowd validated the importance Jn 12:28-30. Jn 12:46-47. Even with the voice, their messiah would die, a hard lesson for the crowd

Kristi Lichtenberg almost 3 years ago

Love all of this. Great questions, too. It is so easy to see suffering as inconvenient, not fair, too much, etc. at the time. But when we get to come alongside someone who is suffering and say, from experience, that there is a faithful God who heals, restores, redeems, transforms, forgives and loves, there is so much unexpected JOY that He has brought us through! I’m thankful the Lord doesn’t give me an option because I would be stupid and choose the comfortable, easy path. And I would miss out on the sweetest parts of this life!

John Hill almost 3 years ago

Great devo Kristen! I love the way you wove scripture together. God knitted us together… and did the same with His word and direction for our lives!

Hugh Stephenson almost 3 years ago

12/18/12. We had been coming to Watermark for a few weeks. I am sitting in my reading room at about 6:00 AM. I read Jesus Calling for 12/18. She quotes Isaiah 30:20. “The bread of adversity and the water of affliction”. My sin has put my family into an existential crises and Isaiah says adversity & affliction are like bread & water? REALLY?

Soon after that I read James 1:2-4 and later, today’s verse. The cherry on top comes with John 16:33.

I was devastated by the truth of these verses. Wasn’t my church resume good enough? Why was God doing all this?

It took me awhile to realize that what I wanted was a Christian version of a Participation Trophy. Hey, I showed up! Don’t I get in?

A few months into the discipleship ministries lead me to Hebrews 11; the Hall of Fame. No participation trophies here.

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