Q: I’ve gone through some hard times recently, and my aunt says I ought to be thankful because they’ll make me a better person. Is she right? I admit I’m having a hard time seeing things her way. — E.W.
A: We all want our lives to be smooth and trouble-free, of course, but unfortunately life isn’t always that way. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was completely free of worries and problems. Job rightly said, “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
The real question, therefore, is this: How will we react when troubles and problems arise? Will we react in anger, or despair, or doubt, or hopelessness? Will we spend our time blaming others for our problems or denying that they even exist and refusing to do anything about them? Will we try to solve our problems on our own, even if this isn’t realistic?
Or will we turn to God for the wisdom and strength we need? This doesn’t mean all our problems will suddenly vanish. But it does mean we’ll no longer be alone, and even in the midst of life’s deepest problems we’ll find that God is strengthening us and helping us. Just as exercise makes our muscles grow stronger, so troubles and trials can make us stronger emotionally and spiritually. This is why the Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
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The greatest discovery you will ever make is that God loves you, and the proof is that Jesus Christ was willing to give his life for your salvation. Invite him into your life, and then commit your problems to him — today and always.
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