When we were told that our youngest daughter would have birth defects, possibly severe ones, did I need that situation to develop a sense of ruthless trust in God?
Would I have ever made Jesus the Lord and center of my life if I didn’t have a breakdown full of darkness, depression, and frustration?
Did I need to be cut from my high school basketball team to know that God can still value me despite personal disappointment and failure?
Did I need to be a lonely college student to take advantage of long stretches at a lake setting with just me and God?
Did my Dad have to die and my friend drink himself to death for me to learn to love God even when I don’t agree with how he has allowed things to happen?
Is pain and struggle a prerequisite for growth?
Job, in the Bible, needed one catastrophe after another in order to finally make this statement about God, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job’s struggles awakened his spiritual senses to truly appreciate and savor God.
Paul begged for God to remove his “thorn in the flesh” but God didn’t. Instead, God told him this, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul would then come to this realization, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul needed hardship and difficulties and weakness for God to be his strongest. I don’t know if I can say that I delight in struggles and disappointment just yet but if that is what it takes for God to be the strongest in my life then I will sacrifice my comfort and ease along the way.
For I have seen too much growth, too much of God’s presence, too much of God’s provision, and too much of a change in myself to think otherwise.