GROWTH is the serious endeavour of ardent Christians. They know it’s life’s purpose.
Without growth we rescind. Fortunately, God has a great plan for our growth!
And difficulty is His key instrument. God uses difficulty to train us. Oh, how I wish I could always see it this objectively!
Difficulties have had their role in my life, and will continue to. In some situations, difficulties verified my character as relatively true. God gifts us all mastery over some difficulties, sometimes to test our pride, and where we’re found wanting, highlighted are the need for deeper difficulties yet to be revealed and experienced. In other situations, my difficulties proved exasperating, even overwhelming. Some broke me. A few have done that day-in-day-out, over months or years. Sure, losses fit firmly into this category, but also a plethora of other everyday annoyances that piqued my pride and caused me to see, through my fears and frustrations, where I still have room to grow.
Ill-handled difficulties made me aware of cavernous gaps in my maturity.
These are the difficulties God foresaw for my growth, and He sees them worthy to fit to me. I have observed the hard way, many times, there’s no use resenting a difficulty’s existence. Indeed, the opposite perception is blessed; difficulties when embraced.
When difficulties become less difficult there’s the evidence of learning, growth and maturation.
The way we take difficulties, and the way we respond to them, is where God’s Spirit speaks most poignantly. We only need to hold the truth by faith, that He is for us, never against us, to see this.
Difficulties are not a curse; they’re actually the avenue to eventual blessing.
Difficulties have a purpose of training us in patience, a fruit of humility, a blessing of resilience.
Patience is behavioural, observable, within us as we reflect, as much as it’s noticeable to others. Patience is a virtue of Jesus. Cyprian of Carthage (200 – 258 ce) pled that “in Christ a full and perfect patience may be consummated” in each of us.
One sign we’re overcoming a particular difficulty — a symbol of real growth — is when we can laugh within the truth of such a trial. God gives us this capacity. It’s no proud laugh. It’s a laugh that accepts we don’t like it one bit; yet, we laugh because we can. It can even be, and often is, a laugh within a cry, as we wrestle with the reality amid His goodness. It’s possible as we face the stark reality, even when life has appeared to turn its back on us.
So, as James says, consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds…
God is disciplining us — His sons and daughters — through training. Because He loves us.