The Christian life has been described as “headed into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm.” The question for the believer is not if trials will come, but what to do when they do come. The apostle Paul said that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” in Acts 14:22. Paraphrased into today’s language, Jesus might say we have a “rough row to hoe” before we enter God’s presence.
Accepting the blunt reality of trial and hardship is the first step to dealing with adversity. The Christian is no more immune to cancer or hurricanes than the non-Christian. The ruin of the fall and the entrance of sin into the universe adversely affect both man and creation (Romans 8:22 – “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”).
We must realize that the primary purpose of adversity is to expose our weakness and drive us to fresh trust and dependence on Jesus Christ. Jesus wants us to trust Him with each burden, each problem, each setback (1 Peter 5:7 – “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you”).
God knows that if we trust Him as our faith is tested, we will discover His strength – we will grow stronger. In our weakness, we can discover His strength. The winds of financial misfortune, illness, divorce, or death may be too much for us to handle, but nothing is too complicated or burdensome for God!
James 1:2-4: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”