But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (II Corinthians 4:7-9, NKJV)
When the twelve disciples answered Jesus’ invitation to “follow me,” none really understood the drastic changes that would come into their lives by that action. Yes, becoming a part of the ministry of Jesus was an unbelievable experience—the miracles, the multitudes, the powerful teachings of the Lord. But they also faced ridicule, hardships, persecution, imprisonments, and death. Yet, despite the many hardships and trials that came their way, they maintained their faith in God and persevered to the end.
You say, Well of course. We’re talking about the apostles here. They were different–stronger–able to endure more than I can. Nothing in the Bible indicates to me that these men were any more than average people with the same hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities as we have today. What they did have, and we do also, was the Spirit of God living inside and enabling them to withstand whatever difficulty came their way.
The truth is, all of us have faced and will face trials and struggles. No one escapes them. No one! Even the person you feel “has it all together” endures struggles you will never know about. It’s just part of living on this earth. Job 14:1 sums it up well: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”
A friend went through an extremely difficult period in her life. The number of things that came at her all at once were overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. I remember the day she looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, “The Bible says God won’t put more on you than you can bear, but He has! I can’t bear this.” In that moment of extreme distress, she overlooked something important. God did not expect her to bear it alone. He wanted to be her Burden Bearer. And yours too.
I recently came across a quote that said:
“Good times become good memories and bad times become good life lessons.” –Unknown
There is truth in that statement. Our struggles teach us valuable lessons and help us to grow. What are those lessons trials can teach us? Let’s look at God’s Word to discover why the hard things we face can become a blessing. Please take time to read and meditate on these verses. They will help you understand how God uses the difficult things in our lives to help us grow and become more like Him. Feel free to add to this list.
- Trials strengthen our character. (Romans 5:3-5)
- Trials teach us patience. (James 1:3-4)
- Trials teach us perseverance. (James 1:12)
- Trials teach us to rely on God. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:13)
- Trials teach us about God’s strength when we are weak. (II Corinthians 12:9–10)
- Trials give us a testimony. (Psalm 71:14-18)
- Trials may sometimes be used by God to discipline us. (Proverbs 3:11-13)
Yes, the struggles we face in life can be exceedingly difficult, but God uses those very things to change us, stretch us, and help us to grow more into His likeness. Remember, these things will pass. This is just a season, and seasons change.
Thank You, Lord for being with me during all the difficult times in life. I may not understand the reasons why things happen, but I do know You can use the trials in my life to make me a better person. I am weak, but I lean upon Your strength to bring me through.