Most of us do not look forward to times of pain and sorrow or discomfort. We try to avoid all of these things by living careful lives and praying steadily for God’s blessings on all that we try to do and say. We pray for our businesses and our children. We pray for safety for our grandchildren. We offer “traveling mercies” prayers before we or loved ones get on an airplane. Most of us do not like pain and adversity in our lives. Yet, if you’re like me, the only time that I ever really learn something or in a mood to be taught anything is when I am suffering. Rarely am I open to fundamental changes in the human heart when everything is coming up roses. It is only through the periods of pain, illness, financial stress, marital difficulties and the like, that I find myself on my knees seeking God’s answers and deliverance.
Yet, if we are candid about those trial times when we feel God’s refining fire, we will admit that it is during those trials that we see Him more clearly. It is in those humiliating circumstances that we come to depend fully on God and His leading for our lives. It is in the furnace of humiliation that the pure gold of humility is forged! It is during the storms of financial stress that we find the reassuring strong shelter of God’s provision. Only while walking around in a fog of uncertainty do we discover the gentle guiding hand of God’s Providence.
None of us will wish for adversity. None of us willingly walk into tough situations where our sons or daughters are using heroin and arrested and in need of Teen Challenge. But when these squalls of life pour down God’s rain, we feel the rain, but can choose to embrace the adversity. We know and can take comfort and confidence in the fact that at the crisis center, God’s loving hand is guiding us, teaching us and bringing us to new mountaintops. Only through adversity can real gold be refined.