Difficult circumstances can reveal much about a person. A smooth road reveals very little of our character, but when successive potholes mar our otherwise gentle pathway, we begin to get a look at the underside of our lives.
Faced with difficult challenges, it is easy to become preoccupied with what others have done to us or to groan, "Why does this always happen to me?" But we must not overlook God's purpose in these trials.
As we open our lives to the Lord, He will turn our challenges into opportunities to become more like Him.
Every challenge we face should be seen as a test or a lesson. Difficulties may come our way because God wants us to be involved in the solution—for our benefit or for the benefit of others. We might also be enduring something so that God can reveal His glory or display His faithfulness.
God also uses our circumstances to reveal to us the condition of our hearts—or to allow us to face the consequences for something we've allowed to take root in our lives. If in these moments we avoid self-examination, we may find that our circumstances become even more challenging, and we will become increasingly frustrated.
Life can be difficult, and as disciples of Christ in a broken world, what we face can be particularly challenging. This is why it is vitally important that we yield ourselves—daily, hourly, minute-by-minute—to God's Holy Spirit. Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians: "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (12:10).
As we open our lives to Him, He will turn our challenges into opportunities to become more like Him. Then we can have a godly expectation that something good can come out of our trouble (see James 1:2-5).
Prayer: God, help me to come to You with the challenges I face today. Help me to see it as a test or a lesson and give me wisdom to respond in a way that honors You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).