1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
Consider these words from Nazi concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom:
“There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.”
“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.”
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength… Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18: Three Simple Steps
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Always rejoice, 17 constantly pray, 18 in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Who is it that comes to mind when I think of getting “payback” for what was done to me? Does “renting” them this space in my mind increase my joy or my misery? How can I combat these negative thoughts by intentionally doing good? Is God calling me to do good to the person I want to suffer for hurting me? Consider the attitude and actions of Jesus. Overcoming hatred, malice, and bitterness are keys to rejoicing through suffering.
What are the specific blessings (spiritual, emotional, material, relational, etc.) for which I am truly thankful to God? What if I only could enjoy tomorrow those things for which I am truly thankful for today? What would be on that gratitude list? Be intentional about gratitude since it is essential for you to be joyful AND it is the will of God for you. Practicing gratitude - particularly till you can emotionally mean it - is a huge factor in being able to rejoice through suffering.
When was my prayer life at its healthiest and most special - and what made it that way? Am I so busy that I really need to be intentional by scheduling uninterrupted blocks of time to commune with God in prayer? What is the main thing that stops me from praying? Review the Neglected Necessity podcasts - especially the obstacles to prayer - as needed. A consistent prayer life is foundational (and therapeutic!) in the ability to rejoice through suffering.
Corrie ten Boom: “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees… Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”