“No faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity. Tried faith brings experience…You would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the floods.” (Charles Spurgeon, 19th Century British Preacher)
I have a young friend who prepares diligently for athletic events. I admire the methodical training regimen she maintains even during stressful times. My friend’s persistence toughens her so she’s able to complete each race in which she competes.
Even as physical training is essential to running a marathon, half-marathon, even a 5-K walk, so spiritual training is essential to strengthen the Christ-follower who determines to run well the race of faith.
Once, during a particularly high-stress season, I prayed, “God, this is TOO HARD!” In response, I heard the still, small voice in my human spirit reply gently but firmly, “I didn’t call you to EASY!”
Life can be brutal. Almost every day I hear stories of folks navigating extremely difficult situations. While my heart often aches after hearing their stories, my prayer isn’t God, make their life easier. Rather, I pray God will give them stamina to keep placing one foot of faith in front of the other.
Even though I don’t invite God to bring on a hard season, I know it’s been during tough times when my soul has been strengthened.
More than 2000 years ago, a new sect called “Christians” experienced stressful times. Persecuted for their radical, newfound beliefs, some were even martyred. Against this brutal backdrop, James penned these words:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
I’m asking God to give each of us endurance for whatever race in life we’re running…
Consider & Imagine:
- Consider a tough season you’ve experienced or currently are experiencing. How have previous difficult times prepared you? What spiritual disciplines helped you? What lesson(s) did you learn or believe God desires you now learn?
- Imagine how you would like God to use this experience for good? How might your experience strengthen not only you, but also help others?