The world around us is always changing, but that isn’t the case with its Creator. Consider God’s love: It’s not simply a trait He possesses but an attribute, an essential aspect of who He is. Everything He says and does flows from the truth that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Since God is unchanging, we can rest in His promises. But that doesn’t mean we can expect life to always be easy. Though we’re sure of being redeemed and, ultimately, raised from the dead, Jesus did say life will involve tribulation. If the cost of following Him seems overwhelming, take comfort in this: You’ll never be alone. When you suffer, He’ll suffer with you.
God is always with us, within us. Even when we think He is absent, He’s right there and always been—it’s just that for some reason, our feelings don’t match the truth. So instead of asking if God is present to us, the better question is, Are we being present to Him?
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”— James 4:14
Life is short no matter how many years we live. Don’t be deceived into thinking that you have lots of remaining time to live for Christ, to enjoy your loved ones, or to do what you know you should. This kind of thinking can lead to eternal suffering and separation from God.
Live for God today! Follow His commandments. Love His son, Jesus. Then, no matter when your life ends, you will have fulfilled God’s plan for you.
“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance”—Romans 5:3
The apostle Peter says that when professing believers are beset by trials yet remain steadfast in the Lord Jesus, their faith is proved genuine. The result is confidence in their salvation, and with each new trial, assurance and trust in Christ grows. Their continued perseverance is the fruit of salvation that demonstrates they are abiding in Him.
That’s why we can rejoice even in our sufferings—because through them, God is assuring us of our salvation and conforming us to His image. Knowing this should give us hope and encouragement to continue the process of sanctification, because we have confidence that our salvation will be completed with the resurrection of our bodies.
The next time you face trouble, remember God wants you to know that your salvation is genuine. So hold tightly to Christ and keep trusting Him.
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.— Hebrews 5:8-9
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith.” That is, from first to last He is the perfect example of how we should live our lives by faith. If we have any question as to how we should live our lives, then we should look to Jesus first of all as an example of what to do.
Interestingly enough, if we look to Jesus as revealed in our verse for today, what we learn from His example is that the model of our faith had to suffer. Jesus’ life was a life that included suffering and His suffering was not gratuitous. It had a purpose. Through His suffering Jesus learned obedience. He learned how to remain obedient to God even though He was suffering. He learned not to use suffering as an excuse to disobey God’s plan for His life. He learned how to stand fast in faith through it all and obey God.
Further, we learn from Jesus’ example that His obedience to God needed to be perfected. Jesus, of course, lived in sinless perfection. However, He still needed to go through the sufferings He went through in order to become ready for His great task in life. Every experience He had and every suffering He endured prepared Him for the cross.
If the author and finisher of our faith needed to learn obedience through suffering, then how much more do we who are mere followers of His example need to learn obedience through suffering? Perhaps we need to look at the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life in a new light. Instead of complaining about them, perhaps we should consider them valuable experiences that qualify us for the tasks God has planned for us. If we go through these trying times in faith and obedience, then we will be ready for what God has in store for us.
You are a work in progress. You are being perfected by suffering for the tasks God planned for you from all eternity. You are working on your advanced degree in the specialty God thinks you are best suited for. Stand fast in faith, then, and learn obedience from what you are going through.
“For the choirmaster. Of the sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth is transformed and the mountains are toppled into the depths of the seas.”—Psalm 46:1-2
At some point, you’ve probably been asked why a loving God would allow suffering in the world. Though He is able to stop it, He often doesn’t. And while we can acknowledge seeing Him at work during certain difficult situations, at other times it looks as if nothing is happening despite our many prayers.
We live in a sinful world, so the potential for anguish is great. Sometimes we’re troubled when people are driven by the evil within. Other times the cause is our own weakness or God’s discipline in our life. Still another reason might be persecution or simply the consequence of ignoring good principles. But whatever the origin of our distress, we can be sure that if God allows it, He has a purpose. He may want …
To get our attention. The psalmist realized affliction brought him back within God’s will (Psalm 119:67; Psalm 119:71). In times of distress, we often turn to Him for help.
To develop personal righteousness in us. God wants us to mature, so He will reveal areas of our life that we need to address.
To prune us. John 15:1-2 paints an excellent word picture of how God eliminates attitudes and actions that are not godly or fruit-bearing.
To teach us obedience. Jesus, who always did the Father’s will, is our perfect example (John 4:34; Heb. 5:7-9). As we are conformed to His image, we will increasingly learn to obey God (Rom. 8:29).
God may allow painful seasons in our life. When He does, ask Him to show you how He may be using suffering for your good.
Do you want to know the power of Christ’s resurrection? To know the power of Christ’s resurrection does not refer primarily to the resurrection of our bodies that will occur when Christ returns, but to our spiritual resurrection from the deadness of sin into the life of righteousness through Christ. This resurrection power is a spiritual power that enables Christians to live and walk in newness of life in every area of life. We used to be spiritually dead, but now we are spiritually alive (Colossians 2:13).
You have not just been buried with Christ. You have also been raised with Him. Today, rise up through the newness of life you have in Him, no matter what comes your way.