Hardship is not something we include on our “todo” list, it arrives unexpected and interrupts our neatly scheduled plans. Unannounced it comes onto the scene and usually our first response is “why”? Following close behind is a hearty “I don’t have time for this!” We resist suffering, wasting strength and time trying to avoid the inevitable encounter. We fail to realize that hardship and suffering are a necessary part of life. Not only are they imperative to our Christian growth, they both are a divine calling for every believer.
According to Romans chapter five, suffering produces endurance. The a Book of James claims that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Hardship and suffering are the catalyst which God uses to bring about Godly character in our lives. Like unrefined metal we must be separated from our impurities. After this process takes place we become ready for use in God’s Kingdom.
Philippians chapter one verse twenty-nine states, “for it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should….suffer for his sake”. Paul and Timothy, wrote this for our benefit, so that we would expect suffering and see it for what it is, an appointment with God. Many times when we experience hardship and suffering, we resist and even fight against the circumstances. We seek God’s deliverance from these difficult moments, when in fact we should embrace them, as trials appointed for us by a loving God. Both Romans and James share not only that suffering and hardship should be expected, but also that we should confront them with a positive attitude. The words that Paul and James use actually go even further to say we should be joyous and rejoice.
When God deems us ready for such growth, He invites us to come. Desiring our best, He leads us into an appointed season of refinement. If we choose to cling to Him, this refinement will ultimately bring glory to God and take us to a new level of maturity in Christ.
When hardships come don’t waste valuable time and energy “kicking against the goads”, instead rejoice that you have been deemed worthy and draw near to God. Allow Him to strip away the parts of you which do not bring Him glory. In doing this each of us will become useful for God’s service and better able to reflect God’s character to the world around us.
Note: For a better understanding of the phrase “kicking against the goads”, see the following link.