SEVEN WAYS SORROW AND STRUGGLE SHAPE US

Rejected WomanWe all experience loss. If you’re human, you’ve struggled with something, somehow and somewhere. Even the happiest person on the planet knows the angst of sorrow.

Honestly, given the choice, most of us would not choose pain. When faced with the opportunity to laugh or cry, we consistently choose the path of joy. It’s in our nature to pick the easy way or at least the route of least resistance. Only a masochist finds sick pleasure in physical or emotional suffering.

Shaped Struggle BW

However . . .

Is it conceivable that struggle shapes us into someone better?

Is it possible that the good qualities or characteristics we possess become forged through the heat of hardship?

Is it imaginable that sorrow and struggle mold us into men and women of faith?

Shaped AbrahamWould Abraham be the “father of faith” had he not wrestled with doubt? Would another Abraham (Lincoln) be considered one of our greatest presidents if he had not experienced so much loss and failure? Would you be you without the scars and lessons learned the hard way?

 

So how does sorrow and struggle shape us?

  1. As fire purifies gold, the dross in our hearts is revealed and removed in the fire of adversity.

  1. As we suffer, we develop empathy for others in their suffering.

  1. The never-ending presence of Emmanuel becomes a greater reality in the valley of the shadow of death. In fact, we discover that God does some of His best work in the dark.

  1. We learn to say no to sin (if our suffering is sin related) because the consequences of our choices can make us wiser.

  1. Shaped close-up-chiselLike a chisel, suffering chips away at the rough edges of our souls and reveals a deeper beauty previously unknown or unseen.

  1. We mature in our God-confidence (i.e. faith) as we choose to believe even when we cannot see and do not understand.

  1. The struggles of life teach us to persevere.

Perhaps, rather than resist the trials, we should embrace them and be thankful. Maybe we need to have a different perspective on our difficulties?

Shaped Struggle Flower

I’m not suggesting that we look for trouble, cause problems, or just roll over and take it. Of course, there is a time to resist and press forward. But I wonder are we are missing something bigger and better that God wants to do in and through us in the midst of our pain?

You don’t need to look for rainbows or silver linings. You don’t have to try to put a positive spin on something that sucks. And I’m not asking you to just grin and bear it either.

But do grow.

Decide now that no matter what may come, you will see the struggle as an opportunity to cultivate your faith and to mature. You will practice hope even when it seems that all hope is lost. You will celebrate in seasons of suffering and struggle because you believe you will be a better you in the end.

The alternative is to wallow in your misery and become resentful, but that never ends well.

I pray you’ll choose to become better instead of bitter.

Shaped Better not Bitter

 

We celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know

that when we suffer we develop endurance,

which shapes our characters.

When our characters are refined,

we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.

Romans 5:3-4 (VOICE)

 

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