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  • Nick Guiliano

Day 10: Life Changes, So Should You

Updated: Jan 17

“...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.” Romans 5:3–5



Ahh, the new year! As the earth turns another year older and humanity gains an overwhelming sense of a “fresh start”, our lives are primed for positive change. At the beginning of the year, we often set goals for our spiritual lives, physical health, work/life balance, and much more. We set goals because we know that change is what creates an opportunity for growth. If we don’t change, we will never grow. 


But what about uncontrollable or negative change? How do we respond when the changes we experience aren’t things we hoped for, made resolutions about, or planned for? Things like job loss, sickness, a stock market crash, or death? We don’t control those changes and we certainly don’t welcome that change into our lives, yet we live through changes like this every year. 


Unwanted change can leave us feeling like we’ve been launched into a pit of darkness and suffering. Are these changes still an opportunity to grow in Christ? The apostle Paul seemed to have an answer in Romans 5:3-5. He says “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.


The apostle Paul was no stranger to suffering, in fact, he’d probably consider himself a friend to the “pit of darkness” as he often experienced horrible suffering throughout his life. In Romans 5:3-5, he explains how even through suffering (unwanted change), we can be conformed to and renewed through Christ (growth).


For those walking through seasons of grief, loss, mental health changes, or any number of challenges, “rejoicing in your suffering” is certainly easier said than done. But as suffering inevitably comes, we are called to endure the suffering by clinging to the Lord (Psalm 63). Although you might be feeling weaker than you’ve ever been, we know the Lord walks with us, and his power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we cling to the Lord as we endure unwanted change, we are becoming more and more dependent on the Lord.  Paul wanted his readers to understand that through suffering we have an opportunity to become more dependent on the Lord, looking to him for our every need. This is growth that makes us look more like Christ; the kind of change that honors him and brings him glory. 


Our continual dependence on the Lord has no choice but point to our hope in Christ. When all else fails around us, our hope in Christ will always remain (1 Peter 1:3-6). He has ransomed us from our own brokenness and secured for us a home in Heaven, where all pain and sorrow will subside and death will be no more. Even as we endure unwanted change, God displays his love for us through this eternal promise for all to be made right, and new again (Revelation 21:4-5).


If you’re walking through darkness and suffering, I’m so sorry. My heart is so heavy for you. Truthfully, this one-page devotional hardly scratches the surface of the complexities of navigating suffering. My encouragement to you is this– what’s true in the light is still true in the darkness. Whether it’s controlled positive change or uncontrolled negative change, change does give us an opportunity to grow. As you endure your suffering, you have an opportunity to cling to Christ, cement “dependence on God” into your character, be renewed by Christ and hope in his return, and be comforted by the love of the Father. 


This is the power of the God that we cling to. Even in our suffering and unwanted change, we can rejoice knowing we are renewed by Christ and deeply loved by a heavenly father. In unwanted change, in your weakness, fix your eyes on Christ, and experience the beautiful growth that will come from your dependence on him. 


Pray with me: Lord, we need you. Thank you, Jesus, for ransoming us from our own brokenness. When suffering and unwanted change inevitably comes, help us cling to you, be comforted by your love for us, and use our suffering to glorify you. Amen.

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