Adversity is a fact of life. There is no mystery here. What is interesting though is the question, “How are our trials shaping us?”
When various types of troubles insist on crowding into our lives it can be easy to succumb by becoming embittered, grumbling and complaining, hanging onto disappointments or nursing grudges against others. If people allow their trials to shape them in this manner, evil wins. But their individual stories do not need to end this way.
The wide variety of trials which bombard us present us with great opportunities. James 1:2-3 reminds us that because the testing of our faith creates heroic endurance resulting in a maturity where no aspect of character will be lacking, we actually ought to be joyful when encountering difficulties! Trials are opportunities to develop into the people God wants us to be. Maintaining faithfulness even through adversity makes us stronger.
A teenager is taunted for her faith in Christ, she acknowledges that Jesus is her Lord. Perseverance grows.
Economic difficulties or health issues arise tempting a person to lash out at God and become embittered. Instead of becoming a seething pot of acidic attitudes, a prayer is offered up seeking strength to overcome. A prayer life takes deeper root.
A young person walks away from an immoral opportunity. Moral development is fortified.
The clock does not stop ticking as personal goals and desires clamor for immediate attention. The small voice of a child rises asking for help. Instead of an outpouring of abrupt anger at being interrupted, kindness and attention are given. Patience, love and a commitment to true priorities become more firmly established.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; because when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12