Life in a peaceful and comfortable environment is what many believers desire. Yet to live such a life is like being a plant nurtured in a greenhouse, in which a more abundant life cannot be cultivated. On the other hand, adverse circumstances such as deprivation, disease, suffering, persecution, and danger are obviously feared with good reason. We should realize, though, that adverse circumstances are opportunities for refining our spiritual character.
An old proverb says that a tree cannot stand firm if it is not shaken by the wind. The root of faith will not grow deep and stable unless it is tried by storms. Luke 8:15 teaches that the seed which falls on good soil is deeply rooted; its crop can endure harsh elements and still bear much fruit. A deeply rooted faith will survive even though blown and beaten by the wind and rain.
Hebrews chapter 11 records the testimonies of those whose strong determination and enduring faith bring them through the fiery furnace of trials. Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we should learn to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The journey of faith in this world is like sailing on a great sea. Don’t expect calm waters and still winds everyday. But as Christians, we only need to ask our Lord to give us the faith to withstand harsh trials and tribulations. The journey of faith is also like climbing a steep mountain. Don’t be afraid of the steepness or the threatening nature of its face. Rather, ask the Lord to strengthen your heart so that you can ascend to the pinnacle through faith.
Perhaps even now you are experiencing a great trial in which exhausting hours of prayer have not yet been answered. You are probably broken in spirit. If so, please do not ask Jesus to change the external circumstances. Instead, ask Him to give you the faith to accept the trials. The Lord has chosen you and tested you so that your faith, once tried, will become more valuable than perishable gold.