There certainly are a lot of distractions, diversions, disappointments, trials, temptations and traumas which come along to disrupt the process of becoming the person God wants you to be. Every day you struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, each of which are opposed to your success at being God's person.
But Paul reminds us that the tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity: "We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5). James offers similar encouragement: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
Maybe you thought your goal as a Christian was to escape tribulations. But God's goal for you is maturity in Christ, becoming the person He designed you to be. And tribulation just happens to be one of the primary stepping-stones on the pathway. That's why Paul says we exult--meaning to express heightened joy--in our tribulations. Why? Because persevering tribulations is the doorway to proven character, which is God's goal for us.
Our hope lies in proven character, not in favorable circumstances nor in the manipulation of others. Neither circumstances nor people can keep you from being what God wants you to be. Trials and tribulations are the most common means for bringing about His goal for your life.
Prayer: Lord, help me see my trials as stepping-stones, not obstacles. Give me grace to persevere and develop proven character.
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