Magic Wand or Suffering?

September 2, 2022
Hello Church family: What is one of the most counterintuitive statements in the Bible? At least in the top three must be the statement found in Romans 5:3, “Rejoice in your sufferings.”

So wait, God is telling us that we are to rejoice in physical pain, cancer, broken relationships, a hurricane smashing your home, painful accidents, Highway 17 traffic making you late, needing a new transmission, losing a job, and anything else that makes your life more difficult? Well, the answer is Yes, rejoice in all of that. Actually, the word here for rejoice is also translated, “glory in,” “exult in,” and “boast about.” Do you notice that all these words are words of worship? In other words, suffering is to create a heart of worship. Yes, that is definitely the opposite of our natural response to suffering. Often, instead of rejoicing in our sufferings, we quickly get mad at God, we get bitter, we blame, or we slander God with false accusations never listening for His response to those accusations. Or sometimes we even run away from Him in confusion.

How can you possibly rejoice in your sufferings today? Sticking with Romans 5:3-5, you must fight to understand and believe that suffering has been sovereignly applied to your life by your loving Heavenly Father. God wants you to understand that He has begun in you several powerful connected works to produce within you virtues that you do not have and He knows that you need to live on this earth with resilience, power, purity and joy. He knows that you need endurance, character and hope to get you through what is next. That is something to rejoice about.

When God applies suffering to your life, He sees the need to change your heart or add to your heart great Godly attributes and Christlikeness. That mindset creates a confident HOPE and results in rejoicing worship. God does not change your heart by waving some magic wand or by pouring out from some ancient divine jar labeled “perseverance” or “resilience” or “trust” or “humility.” When God desires to produce within you His attributes or when He wants you to drop some ungodly attribute, He will apply suffering (1 Peter 1:6-9; James 1:2-4). And when that happens, He is doing a powerful work. He wants you to worship and rejoice knowing that He is doing a great work in you. He is giving you what you need on this earth to make it through the next day with wisdom, power, resiliency, trust, joy or a million other traits He thinks that you need. And when that happens, you persevere in Godliness through great hardships and God is worshipped and glorified by your life.

Remember, through many tribulations you enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:21-22). Sufferings are normal for you as child of God not abnormal. It would actually be abnormal for you not to have sufferings. Rejoice, God is doing a great work in you and He will bring it to completion! (Philippians 1:6)

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