I read several things yesterday that are beginning to turn around my recent feelings of unworthiness and intense sadness: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Eph 1:4) and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14) The truth is that I’m not really feeling this right now, but I trust in the Lord and I trust His Word, and this is what His Word tells me. Below, I want to share some other writings from Dr. Charles Stanley that are also reverberating with me now.
When you confront a situation that does not line up with your understanding of how God wants your life to proceed, you must stop and look to Him for direction. Sometimes He allows disappointments to occur so that you will learn to rely on Him more fully—to walk by faith and not by sight. While disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice.
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Paul spent his life serving Christ, and yet he experienced continual suffering (2 Corinthians 11:23-30). Why would God let one of His most faithful servants go through so much pain? This isn’t just a question about Paul; it’s an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships, but He doesn’t necessarily do so.
Maybe our reasoning is backwards. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is what produces faithful Christians. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials, or pain, we’d never really know God, because we’d never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will.
I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never been challenged by hardship? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful. For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by pain, persecution, and adversity?
Depending on your response, trials can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.