When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Right? This implies, if we have enough moxie, we can endure anything just by being tough.
|The Tough Get Going|
Well, there’s a reason hardships are called that—they’re hard!
God doesn’t allow trials in your life to determine your mettle—He already knows. Trials show you what you’re made of and strengthen you as a Christian.
A building inspector goes over new construction step by step, to uncover deficiencies or weakness that could jeopardize the entire structure. So, too, our weakness of spirit needs to be exposed in order for us to become stronger.
The oft-quoted Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” shows us that God doesn’t expect us to walk alone in trials, but this verse is validated only by suffering hardships.
You might shake your head and say, “But I’m already a strong follower of His. My faith is solid. I’m compassionate. Why should I have to suffer?”
The apostle Paul had a few things to say about this.
“Five times I received from the Jews the forth lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea…I have labored and toiled…I have known hunger and thirst…I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches…If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-30 NIV
Most Christians look to Paul as a standard bearer. If we are to grow to his level of commitment, the commitment first has to be tested. He didn’t develop strong faith outside of being shown his weakness.
James took the concept a step further. He said to “consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Not only do we develop perseverance, we become blessed through the trials.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trials, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV
In turn, we’re able to bless others because of our trials. Take comfort in the knowledge that God knows the trials that lie ahead. He’s waiting in our tomorrows, ready to strengthen our spirit, our faith, and our mettle, and to bless us with the joy whose depth only comes from suffering first.
How can we consider trials pure joy? How do we persevere? Trials are exactly what they sound like—something to be avoided. Here are a few suggestions for practical application.
Count your blessings. It seems elementary, almost too simple and at the same time difficult to do in the midst of a storm. But even finding one or two small things to thank God for will drastically change your perspective and ability to persevere.
Ask God to help you learn what He wants you to from the trial. It may not be readily apparent, even for years, but your willingness to be molded will have the desired effect.
Find a Christian friend or family member to share your rough times. Someone who will listen and pray for you, perhaps even offer practical advice when asked. Part of the reason God doesn’t shield Christians from hardships is to force us to grow together. Trying to be self-sufficient in this fallen world not only leads you away from other Christians but from God. Often God puts someone in our path who has struggled with the same issues.
What trial are you in the midst of today? If you’d like me to pray for you and don’t feel comfortable leaving a message in the comments, please email me.