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‘…Problems and trials…are good for us…’ Romans 5:3

We all want ‘…the crown of life…’ the Lord promised (James 1:12) – but we don’t want the ‘problems and trials’ that develop ‘strength of character in us’ (Romans 5:4). But it can’t be done.

Here’s what you learn in tough times: (1) Enjoyment. ‘Count it all joy when you fall into…trials’ (James 1:2). It’s when you pass God’s test that He fills you with His joy. So pull some of the groans out of your prayers and throw in a few hallelujahs. Remember, pain is inevitable – misery is optional! (2) Enlargement. The Psalmist wrote, ‘…You gave me room when I was in distress…’ (Psalm 4:1). Most of the things we know best, we learned the hard way. Our greatest progress comes from our greatest pain; hence God doesn’t save us from it, but strengthens us in it. (3) Enlightenment. The Bible says, ‘Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness…’ (Psalm 112:4). We don’t realise how little we know until we walk through life’s dark places and God turns on the light. (4) Endurance. James writes, ‘…See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm…’ (James 5:7-8). You can’t shorten the seasons or hurry the harvest, so be patient. And pay attention. While you’re waiting, God is working.

Bruce Wilkinson says, ‘Tests of faith are trials and hardships that invite you to surrender something of great value to God…[and look forward to] the refining experience… and the priceless result.’

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