August 30-31, 2008
Responding to Difficulty

2 Corinthians 4:8

Adversity is never enjoyable, but thankfully, believers are assured that God has a reason for allowing difficulty. And your response to the trial will determine whether it leaves you broken or strengthened.

Romans 5:3-5 states, “We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint . . . ” In order to respond correctly and benefit the way this verse describes, let’s consider how the Lord works in suffering.

First, He controls the burdens so they aren’t too heavy to bear. He limits them because His goal is not to destroy you but to build your character. Second, He designs the difficulty according to your personality, character, and areas that need growth. Therefore, trials are tailor-made in order to grow you to be more like Christ. Third, difficulties are progressive. As God matures you, the intensity may seem to increase. This is similar to weight training: at the beginning, an athlete trains with light barbells, but as his muscles become stronger, he chooses heavier weights. Similarly, as your walk with Christ progresses, obstacles that once seemed overbearing will impede you less. This is a sign of growth. In fact, a prayer journal is a great way to watch God’s progress in your life.

In the midst of your pain, see your trial as a privilege—God is revealing His ways and refining you. Thank Him for trusting you with this situation. Then, ask how to respond, and walk obediently before Him.

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