1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
One thing that we have to realize is that God is not going to deliver us from every difficulty. He is not going to keep us from every challenge we might face in life. If He did, we would never grow. Not allowing us to grow is far more cruel of a thing than any difficulty that might pass our way. In this Bible verse from 1 Peter, Paul is telling us that our “faith is refined by fire.” That means that when we are in the middle of a tough time, that’s an opportunity for our faith to shine.
Anytime we face difficulties in our lives, we have one of two choices. We can 1) resent it, which leads to bitterness and a hardened heart. This will cause us to move further away from God. Our other choice is to 2) embrace it as a growing opportunity. It does not mean that we have to enjoy going through the difficulty, but we see it as an opportunity to gain wisdom and life experience. Through the process, we will find that we grow closer to God.
Anybody can get negative and bitter, blame God, or lose their passion for life. That’s easy, but if we want to pass the test, if we want God to take us to a new level, we can’t be weaklings. We’ve got to be warriors. We need to dig in our heels and adopt the mentality that Paul had. Paul said, “I can handle it. I’m ready for it. I’m equal to it. I know God is still on the throne. He is fighting my battles and on the other side of this difficulty is a new level of my destiny.”
I like to compare human growth to the growth of plants. If a plant is growing and always has an ample amount of water available to it right near the surface, the roots will never grow that deep because all the water it needs is readily available. If however, the plant has periods of time when water is not always readily available to it, the roots will grow down to try to reach moisture found at the deeper levels of the soil so it can sustain growth and survive. If storms or strong winds come along, the plant with very shallow roots is much more likely to be exposed and even killed. The plant that has much deeper roots has a much better chance of surviving the storm.
We are the same way. People who have gone through difficulties in their lives and learn and grow from them are much less likely to crumble when other difficulties come along. Going through and surviving difficult times builds up a person’s ability to deal with future difficulties.
It is through the difficult times in our lives that we experience the greatest amount of growth. Instead of running from difficulties and avoiding them at all costs, we should adopt the mindset of making the most of them and achieving every possible amount of growth from them. We will end up being much more beautiful and strong in the end.