Our GodLife brand offers English-speaking believers many tools to begin their lives with Christ. From connecting the new believer to a volunteer who provides discipleship to our weekly GodLife devotional, our GodLife ministry offers many engaging materials and avenues. Each week, believers who opt-in to receive a new devotional are provided with key Scriptures, encouragement in their walk with Jesus, extra resources, and guidance on how to pray for that week.
To check out one of our new believer Easter devotionals, read “Do you feel alone in your suffering?” below. February 1 is the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of reflection. Lent is intended to help us reprioritize our relationship with God. With that in mind, it’s a fitting time to reflect on Christ and the agony he endured for us. Even in our own suffering, we can reflect and rejoice for we know ultimately, God will use our pain for our good. This very topic was shared with our GodLife ministry’s new disciples in a recent weekly devotional, and we hope this content will encourage you, as well, as we prepare for the despair of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday!
Do you feel alone in your suffering?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16
How often do your circumstances determine the level of your joy? What does that tell you about the source of your joy?
How can we rejoice at a time like this?
If you’ve been watching the news lately, you may be tempted to think, “How can we rejoice at a time like this?” There is much for us to be grieved about. Nations are at war, people are dying violent deaths, crime is on the rise, natural disasters are causing devastating damage around the world…it goes on and on. But the truth is, the world has always had trouble in it. Jesus warned us that it would (John 16:33). So, how should we rejoice during the troubles?
There was trouble and much to be grieved about in Paul’s day. Many of the believers in Thessalonica were dealing with persecution for their faith on top of all of the usual difficulties of life. And yet, Paul told them to “rejoice always.”
You may be wondering, how? How can someone rejoice when a loved one dies? How can we rejoice when we’ve received a terminal diagnosis? How can we rejoice when we’ve lost everything we own? How can we rejoice no matter what trials we face?
The answer lies in the source of our joy. You see, if the source of our joy is our loved ones, then our joy will be absolutely shattered when we lose them. If the source of our joy is our health, then we will be completely devastated when it deteriorates. If the source of our joy is in our possessions, then we will be depressed when they are ruined or stolen.
Now, we should enjoy all of those things! They are blessings and gifts from God, after all! But those things shouldn’t be the source of our joy. The source of our joy should only be God and His love for us. We cannot rejoice in every circumstance if our joy doesn’t flow out of our relationship with Him. But if it does, we can find the hope and strength in Him to be joyful despite even the worst circumstances.
But when our joy is found in Christ and our salvation, our joy is permanent. It’s eternal. Nothing can take it away from us because nothing else matters more. Then, we can join the prophet Isaiah and say: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10).
We can rejoice in our sufferings
Only when our joy is found in the Lord can we rejoice even in our suffering. In Romans 5:1-5, Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 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.”
No matter our circumstances we can rejoice always because we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ. We can always rejoice because we have access to God’s grace by faith. We can always rejoice in hope of the glory of God. We rejoice because we have so much to look forward to in Him! We can even rejoice in our trials because we know that God won’t waste our suffering but will use it to grow us and bring Him glory. So, “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
Lord, my hope is founded on You alone. You are the source of my joy and the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26). I rejoice because my name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20). But I confess that there are times this world discourages me. In those moments, remind me of my everlasting joy in You. Amen.
Are you going through a trial right now? Remember that rejoicing in the Lord despite the difficulty reveals your deep-seated joy, hope, and confidence in the Lord to others.
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