2021 Devotion Series Part 4: “Laboring Forward”

Full Scripture Passage: Romans 5:1-5
Key Verse: “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Imagine a huge group of people, all of whom are struggling with sickness, injury, grief, poverty, unjust treatment, emotional anguish, or some other form of suffering. A voice booms out over a loudspeaker saying, “Welcome everyone! Now who wants to do some hard work?” How many hands do you think would go up? What might some of the reactions be?

To persevere is to keep going, in spite of difficulties or discouragement. In this scripture, Paul says that suffering produces perseverance. It might seem strange that suffering, which is already hard, would lead us to take on something else hard. But imagine if the loudspeaker voice asked the question a bit differently. “Who wants to find a way through their struggle? Who is looking for hope?” Perseverance has a purpose. It is not futile or pointless. It is laboring forward toward healing, growth, and victory, empowered by the Holy Spirit to discover meaning and hope in the journey.

By participating in Rice & Beans Month, we are joining our efforts with true experts at laboring forward. The Lahash ministry partners in East Africa devote their lives to coming alongside vulnerable people in their suffering and working – often little by little – to alleviate it. The kids they serve face huge obstacles every day and yet they stretch toward their dreams even when it’s incredibly tough. Together with our East African brothers and sisters, we can do hard things and trust that God’s love will never leave us. We can grow, change, gain perspective, and develop character. And by God’s grace, we will even find deep joy along this purpose-filled journey into hope.

Gracious God, we thank you for being with us in the midst of all the obstacles, difficulties, and suffering we face. Give us strength to persevere. Remind us that we are not alone but are laboring forward as a community of faith. Thank you for being enough to meet all of our needs, and for sharing out of your abundance so that we are able to give. Amen.


To go deeper into the theme of perseverance and LABORING FORWARD together, take time to reflect on the following scriptures this week:

  • II Corinthians 4:16-18 
  • James 1:2-5
  • Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3
  • John 16:20-22, 33
  • II Thessalonians 1:2-5

Sign up to receive the rest of our new devotional series (along with updates, recipes, and stories) delivered to your inbox throughout the month. Click here to join the email list.