Today’s Bible Reading: Romans 5
When I drive my kids to activities, I tend to take the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus. I call them “car sermons,” and they’re great because the kids are strapped in; they can’t leave. Despite my quasi-Clockwork-Orange approach, the kids really enjoy it.
The other day, my oldest asked why Jesus had to die. I reminded her of the story of Adam and Eve, and how their bad choice brought sin into the world. It separated them (and us) from God. I told her that God missed us and sent Jesus to save us. When Jesus died, he took our place and made us right with God even though we still make bad choices sometimes. I told her that after Jesus died, he came back to life because he is more powerful than death.
I thought I had given her enough big concepts for the day. But then she asked why bad things still happen after Jesus fixed our relationship with God. Romans 5 celebrates our freely given reconciliation with God, but hidden in there is a little thing about trials that we shouldn’t skip over.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Rejoice over problems? We must have to reach a supreme mastery of Christianity to achieve that level of faith, right? No. With our new covenant with God, we can have a relationship with him, experiencing life in a different way. In good times, we can rejoice with God. During trials, we can rejoice instead of falling into despair. When God allows trials in your life, it is a chance for growth. Receiving the gift of Jesus doesn’t mean life will be perfect from here on out. It means that the imperfect world we live in can be experienced in a more beautiful way—walking in relationship with Jesus as we go.
I explained this to my daughter, who sat thoughtfully afterward. It’s a tough concept. A good parent allows their children to make mistakes so they learn and become stronger. God is the perfect parent, and he knows that if we live our entire lives without problems, we will remain stagnant in our faith, resilience, and endurance.
When God allows trials into your life, he is training you for spiritual battle. Training isn’t easy! It hurts, and we walk away sore. But we also walk away stronger! Without intending to discount or minimize your trials, I compassionately encourage you not to get caught up in self-pity so much that you let a trial go to waste. Rejoice in the chance to walk away a stronger, better warrior for God.
Describe a trial you are experiencing (or have experienced in the past) that God might be using to build endurance, strengthen your character, and/or build your confidence in salvation.
God offers us the gift of relational restoration through Jesus. Are you taking advantage of this gift and finding freedom? If so, explain. If not, what sins are you clinging to that are holding you back?
When you experience a trial, try journaling about it. Pray for God to use it for his glory and to build your spiritual endurance. When you begin to reach the other side of the trial, reflect back on your writing and jot down what God has done in your life through the trial. If it isn’t clear right away, keep praying about it. You may not have a clear answer on every trial, but you may begin to see how God is working in your life.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of your Son. I am so grateful for a restored relationship with you, and I pray that I can rejoice both in good times and in bad. Because in all times, you remain unchanged. You are good all the time. I pray that you reveal to me what you are teaching me and building in me to help me through the trials, but also that I remain faithful when these answers are not clear. Amen.
This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this study.
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