You may have heard it said, “Everyone wants to be happy, nobody wants to be in pain…but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.” It’s a nice little rhyme, with a lot of truth.
When challenges touch our lives, we all struggle with the same question, “Why"? Whether you know God or deny Him, this question often plagues those going through crisis. I am certainly no exception. But the quote above points to a truth that is also in Scripture.
In my pursuit of God, I have found that He tests the hearts of men. I also recognize that these testing seasons cultivate His character, if we will look to Him.
God is good. He isn’t the one orchestrating evil—the devil does that (1 Peter 5:8). However, God is helping us to overcome evil by showing us how to fight like Him. And when we win the fight against adversity, we are left with the fortified character that only comes through battle—that is kind of the point. It is a win-win. We win through Jesus, and Jesus etches His character in us through the process. And finally, He gives us authority to go help others with what we have learned.
Take a moment and read this excerpt from the introductory pages of a Bible that was printed in 1876. Listen to the authors take on “tough experiences”.
We are all called forth from our “land of Egypt and house of bondage,” the world and its temptations. And that we may better appreciate the promised rest, we have to be disciplined for it. If we could all remember this, that with every fresh conquest over difficulties a new strength is added, a diviner life imparted, we might almost ask God to rain affliction upon us, and looking up through our tears, we should see Him watching how we bear our trails. To bear, is to conquer; to suffer, is to be strong. All nature, even apart from Scripture, teaches us that rough training is needed to bring anything to perfection, and that things thus perfected are the best. Labor and hunger give a tonic to the body such as nothing else can produce. Every tough experience cultivates. You may be finished off in the parlor, but firmness and fiber must be imparted elsewhere. The house is covered before it is painted, and it must be strongly framed by hard labor before it is covered. The statue stands kingly in its perfected beauty, but hidden fires upheaved and veined the marble, rough hands tore it from the quarry, and stern blows struck from the rude block the encumbering fragments, before the sculptor chiseled it into pure polished grace. And so must the Christian’s character be wrought out. Long the journey may be through the wilderness. The waters of Marah may be there with their bitterness; but there are also the springs and the palms of Elim, whose taste is more refreshing , and whose shade more cooling for the drought and barrenness which have preceded; till at last we reach the eternal, heavenly city, and drink of that river which proceedeth out of the throne of God and the Lamb. [Excerpt from the Holy Bible, introductory pages, “Departure of the Israelites”, copyright 1876.]
Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom. If today you are facing adversity and difficulties, know that with God all things are possible and He is working to perfect a good work in you. Hold fast to His love and His promise to walk you through the shadows of this fallen world. The Lord Jesus will be your light. He is etching His strong character into yours. It is training for reigning.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:3-4).