Life’s richest lessons are often learned in the hard places. As a correspondent for Power for Living, I’ve interviewed dozens of people whose testimonies prove this is true.
For instance…Tammy Trent, a Woman of Faith speaker whose husband drowned, told me how God had proved His presence and sufficiency to her in the hours and days following the accident. Diane Nichols told me of her husband’s incarceration for murder and how that tragedy brought them both to saving faith in Jesus Christ. And author Jennifer Rothschild told how losing her sight in her teen years stripped her of self-reliance but caused her to place her hope in God alone.
“I speak about losing my physical sight, but the bottom line is that we all struggle with loss,” said Jennifer. “We all ask questions like ‘Why did God allow this?’ We all try to reconcile why life didn’t turn out the way we’d dreamed. But hope in Jesus transcends our circumstances. We receive that hope when we cling to Him alone, not the things we want Him to do for us, such as alleviate our suffering. I’m willing to receive the blindness until God heals me because within my blindness I’ve come to see how true hope comes only from Jesus.”
Many times, when we’re walking an easy path, we tend to grow confident in our abilities and know-how. We think we’re able to manage on our own, thank you. We sometimes fail to remember that we’re completely dependent on God for everything including our next breath. Sudden detours remind us that we can’t navigate the journey alone. Stripped of self-reliance, we’re suddenly thrust on God for wisdom, strength, provision, protection, and the list goes on and on.
Paul experienced this truth, too. In 2 Corinthians 1, he wrote about suffering for Christ and being weighed down by troubles. “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). But he didn’t end his letter there. He went on to say, “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead…We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us” (2 Corinthians 1:10).
Paul’s words tell me that self-reliance is not an admirable quality. If life’s hard places are the cure-all that removes this attitude and replaces it with reliance on God, then those hard places are to be embraced as opportunities for spiritual growth. Would you agree?
Painfully, I would agree.
I’m sure we’d view pain through different eyes if could immediately understand God’s purposes for it!