Would you like to improve your chances for being happier, smarter, and wiser; more mature and more confident? Did you know that one of God’s major methods for making all this happen is through our suffering? That’s right; it’s as we go through (and get through) our afflictions, trials, and tribulations that our mettle is tested and we truly “live and learn” about life and how to better cope with it. The way this principal of gain-through-pain works is somewhat foreign to many; even to some who claim to believe in the God who designed it.
Also, hard to understand, is how some folks seem to actually expect a life free from problems and struggles! Consider the psychological approach to advertising in this country: if you buy, do, or follow this or that, you will have solved all your problems. Even a third grader knows better than that. Remember Eve and Adam? Right after they disobeyed God, “He said to Eve, ‘in pain you will give birth, and you’ll desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.’” And to Adam, “the ground is cursed because of you. It will grow thorns and thistles and by the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground.”(Gen. 3) Centuries later, Jesus told His followers, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33, NLT)
Here’s the way to look at it then:
“When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (Js. 1:2–3, NLT)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Rom. 5:3f)
King David told God, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” (Ps. 119:71)
-John Driggers (10/16/23, V5 #42)