Read This: "But we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope."
- Romans 5:3-4
Think: I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed my high school Chemistry class. Bunsen burners, test tubes, and lack of direct supervision made for some good times.
I remember at Christmas one year we made taffy for fun (also to understand the chemical composition of this highly malleable substance… or something like that). Anyway, I made some watermelon-banana taffy and it wasn't all that great. The problem wasn't so much in the taste as it was in the texture. It hadn't been pulled and stretched enough, so it was very weak. To get really good taffy, it needs to be pulled and stretched a lot.
Isn't this what God is doing in us here in this life? He doesn't allow trials in our life for some sick and twisted pleasure of His. That wouldn't be consistent with a great God of love. No, God allows tribulation so that we can be stretched and pulled. What we look at as an awful situation, God looks at as an opportunity to develop our character. We see the trial, God sees the result. Like taffy, we need to be pulled in order to become mature.
Most of us say we want to grow, but when tribulations come we either run away from God or pray that He would put a quick end to the situation. God never promises to deliver us from trials, but He does promise to deliver us through them. We have the responsibility to persevere with hearts of faith.
Ask: What trials are you going through right now in your life? Is your desire to be stretched by God and grow in your faith? Are you willing to look at these trials as opportunities to grow instead of as nuisances about which to complain?
Pray: Lord, I thank you for Your faithfulness through all of life’s circumstances. In the trials I am facing now, I trust that You are in control and will not let me go. Give me the strength to persevere. Teach me what You desire that I might grow in my character and understanding. I am wholly Yours. Amen
Josh Matlock is lead pastor at Bethany of Montclair in CA.