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 (Rom. 5:3-5).
When we’re facing a challenge, our tendency is to wonder if God has abandoned us. Why doesn’t God make our lives easy? One reason is that adversity prepares us for spiritual battles that lie ahead.
The Apostle Paul explains that one reason God allows suffering is to prepare us for future work. He exercises our faith muscles to prepare us for spiritual battles that would otherwise overwhelm.
After a very difficult year in my early ministry, I overheard a godly woman in our church say, “I wonder what the Lord is preparing Bryan to do that requires him to go through so much testing?”
I wondered, too. But, since that time, I have often considered how strengthened I was by the godly woman’s words. She helped me realize present trials were not purposeless. So, when greater trials came, I believed that God had prepared me. I was strengthened in the immediate trial for the later work.
Our sufferings produce the endurance we need, the character our situations require, the confident hope that our trials will end, and the spiritual dependence that keeps our love strong enough to see it all through for Christ’s sake.
Lord, when I’m facing life’s challenges, help me to realize that they help me to grow stronger in Christ and prepare me for greater fruitfulness.