|All Rights Reserved; Photo by Karsten of the Island|
The Lord is never taken by surprise. He knows everything we’re going through, and He is orchestrating our circumstances for both our benefit and His glory, according to His good will.
One purpose for hardship is to cleanse us. Because of our own “flesh” nature and the self-absorbed world we live in, it is easy to develop me-centered attitudes, mixed-up priorities, and ungodly habits. The pressures bearing down on us from stormy situations are meant to bring these impurities to our attention and direct us to a place of repentance. Our trials are not intended to sink us but rather to purify and guide us back to the way of godliness.
Another reason for adversity is so we’ll bring comfort to others. God’s work in our lives is not meant solely for us. It is designed to reach a world that doesn’t recognize or acknowledge Him. The Lord uses the pressures we face to equip us for serving others. As we endure suffering, we will learn about God’s sufficiency, His comforting presence, and His provision of strength to help us endure. Our testimony during times of difficulty will be authentic; those to whom we minister will recognize that we know and understand their pain. What credibility would we have with people in crisis if we ourselves never experienced a deep need?
Reflecting on the divine purpose behind our hardships can help us respond to them in a God-honoring way. Take the time to fix your attention on the Lord, and seek to understand what He wants you to learn. His lessons often unfold gradually, but He will be walking by your side the whole way.