I recently joined a group of guys and spent several days and nights hiking in the mountains. It was a physical and spiritual challenge. Why would we do this? Why would we subject ourselves to misery? We need a challenge to push ourselves. We cannot grow apart from hard times. Sunny days don’t produce character—storms do.
Most of the turmoil in our lives our lives are people issues.
I read a story about Dr. Gibbs. He planted oak trees and wanted them to grow healthy and strong. So, he never watered them, forcing the roots to go way down into the ground to find water. He said, “If it withers and dies, I don’t want it in my yard.” His trees still stand strong today.
Most of us as parents pray God will keep our children from hardship. Good parents understand that we actually are doing a disservice to our children if we fight all their battles for them. If we shield them from challenges and adversity, we make them weaker, not stronger.
Paul says in Philippians 1:29, we have been granted the privilege of suffering—how weird is that? An entire body of scripture speaks to the overwhelming benefit of trials, difficulties and hardships. Granted means favor, a grant or a gratuitous kindness. Imagine if I received a gift and the gift tag said, “To Ron, from Jesus Christ.” I open the gift to find inside the honor to believe in Him and also suffer with Him.
When you face hard times, remember you can experience His peace no matter what challenges you.
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him (Philippians 1:29 NIV).
For more on this topic, listen to the podcast, Peace in Hard Times.