Choose To See Tough Places As Friends That Help You Grow
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men [and women] of mature character with the right sort of independence (James 1:2-4-J.B. Phillips).
If we have the right attitude, then every challenge and hardship that comes our way can be an opportunity to become a stronger believer. Challenges are inevitable since we live in a fallen world. But if we respond correctly, every challenge can improve us.
When we resist the pressure of difficult circumstances by focusing on the Word of God, we find ourselves growing a bit spiritually. We’re learning how to look past the events of the moment and see God working all things together for our good.
It’s easy to feel stuck when you’re in a hard place for a long time. But that is where attitude comes into play. When we choose by faith to expect God and His mercy to make a way for us, then we can learn to endure the tough place.
Think of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers at age 17. Joseph found himself basically in prison for 13 years through no fault of his own, and during that time in his life he kept rising above each challenge. At age 30 he became Prime Minister of Egypt! The 13 years of grueling circumstance prepared him for the place God wanted him to be.
At the moment, you may not understand the rhyme or reason as to why things seem so wrong in your life, and the challenges may keep compounding. We all have those periods of life when everything seems to be a challenge. But during those times, if we keep our attitude and focus on the bigger picture, it helps us navigate through these hard times of life that we all face.
Our attitude in these tough times shows where our focus is! Don’t look at the things seen and felt, rather make a choice to look at the Word and God’s promises to deliver and help! While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Notice Romans 5:3-4 (NLT): We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
It helps me keep a right attitude when I know that God is always with me even in the most difficult times. Listen to Psalms 91:15-16 (NLT): When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
God is always there to help me in the most trying times. Psalm 46:1 declares: God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Here Him speak to you in Psalm 37:39-40 (NLT): The Lord rescues the godly; He is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in Him.
I faced a relatively minor challenge a few years ago when I was on a mission trip in Ethiopia. We had conducted an evangelistic crusade in a field on top of a mountain with several thousand people in attendance. After the crusade, the sky quickly darkened, and a Noah flood rainstorm hit us. It really was one of the most intense storms I had ever seen. We stood on the porch of a nearby building after the crusade until the hour or so storm passed.
When the rain slowed a bit, we started our two and a half mile journey back to our vehicle on foot down a red dirt path, which had turned to nice, wonderful mud! We slogged through the mud with the leaf from a banana tree as our only protection from the rain. It seemed like five pounds of mud clung to each of my shoes as we walked, completely drenched and shivering in the cold rain.
While I was in my personal misery walking down the mountain path with rain, mud, cold, and discomfort as my companions, I thought about different hard places in life I had come through. And I chose to make the best of the situation. I began to inwardly praise and thank God for getting me through so many rough spots life had brought me in my past. As I focused on the times the Lord had helped me in my past, and reminded myself of what He said in His Word, I found that my attitude had changed and it made the trek through the mud seem shorter.
Regardless of where you may find yourself in life today, look past where you are now and remind yourself of God’s promises. See the very things that seem so hard right now as stepping stones to what God has for you in your future.
It seems weird, but when we choose to see the tough place as a friend that actually matures us by urging us to focus on God and His promises instead of our pain, we grow. Remember that with the right attitude, resistance creates strength!