Sometime back, I was at a Bible study where the key text was Jeremiah 17:7,8: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Many times I have wondered why God allows us to face difficulties. It never made sense to me to say we face hard times so we will be strong enough to get through even harder times later. I wanted to know why we had to face any hard times at all!
But at that study, one woman pointed out that during a drought, trees have to send their roots deeper to find water, so in the end, they are stronger. And this made me consider another benefit of hard times. Not only do they prepare us for greater challenges, but often, they also motivate us to get closer to God. We may think we’ve sent our roots down deep enough into God’s Word, until a drought shows us where our understanding has been shallow or the wind brings a problem that threatens to lay us on the ground. Then we realize that we need to send our roots deeper, that there’s more to God than we had thought.
I’m not claiming to know the reason for human suffering. I am saying that when suffering comes, we should do our best to see the trial as an opportunity to grow closer to God. Then, no matter how the circumstances play out, we will be able to look back and see that what Satan meant for our harm, God used for our good.
“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
Your Turn: When has suffering taught you to hope in God?