There are a few things I don’t love, but I have grown to have an appreciation for. An example is camping. Growing up, my family never camped. I’m a city girl and I never spent much time in the great outdoors until I started dating my husband.
Unlike me, my husband Tim grew up camping, hiking, and backpacking. He loves being outdoors and makes sure to schedule camping trips for our family. Because camping was new to me, at first I felt apprehension about trying it. I wanted to enjoy what he liked to do but I also really like comfort and the idea of sleeping in a tent seemed less than appealing . . . at first.
But over the years I can say that I have honestly grown to appreciate being in nature. I feel the presence of God in His creation and it is good for my soul to unplug and get away from the busyness of the world for a few days. While I still don’t love to camp, I do enjoy the experience of being in nature and I have learned to like it more than I did initially.
Part of what changed is that I married someone who knows what he’s doing. He has all the gear including bear spray, he plans our meals and makes sure we have everything we need. And so over the years I have been able to enjoy our trips because I trust that my husband is going to take care of us. Each time I feel more confident because I know that even if I have to endure a little discomfort, it will be worth it.
Adversity is another thing I don’t love but have learned to appreciate a bit more over time.
Because the more time I spend getting to know the Lord and His Word, the more I realize that we need adversity to grow in our faith.
Romans 5:3-5 reminds us that:
“suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Do you see that? Suffering ultimately brings us hope. He pours out His love into our hearts and gives us Himself. Each time we face trials and each time He gets us through them, our faith gets stronger, and we trust Him more and more.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s still uncomfortable. Trials and hardships are painful. Currently we’re all collectively living through a worldwide pandemic with real physical ramifications as well as mental and emotional consequences.
And beyond this extreme life-altering moment in history, we all at various times have experienced our own struggles. Our own personal crises.
During these moments of trial, what we yearn for most is some peace. We feel weary, exhausted from the pain and suffering and just want to be able to breathe.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
God’s Word promises that He will give us peace when we trust Him but we have to keep our minds steadfast, firm, fixed on Him.
As believers, moments of adversity give us the opportunity to deepen our trust in the Lord. There’s just no way around it. It’s in the times of trials that we are stretched beyond ourselves and have to rely on the power of God and the strength of His might to get us through.
The Lord is trustworthy. He shows us that through the big answers to prayer and the small moments of provision and daily grace. I often say that I trust God more than I trust myself because He has a better track record of being in control of my life than I do.
So eventually — just like I can have peace about going camping because I know the person I’m with is an expert and knows what he’s doing and has all we need to take care of us — when I find myself in the middle of a trial that is beyond me, I too can have peace because I know the One who knows everything, the One who has exactly what I need to get out of it, and the One who promises to be with me the whole time through it.
Now friends, we don’t have to love challenges or adversity, but we can overcome them because we have access to the Creator of the world. We can trust that He knows what He’s doing.