When you want to get in shape, it is actually through the process of tearing your muscles down that you build them up. The first day of your workout is not so hard. But the next day, you're in pain. Everything hurts. The next time, you feel weak, but you work out anyway. A couple of days later, you are still weak and sore, but you're a little stronger. You increase the weights a little bit. Then you do a little more. Pretty soon, you notice that you are getting stronger. It is through the breaking-down process that the building up comes.
In the same way, we need to build up our spiritual muscles. God allows us to go through difficulties. He increases the weights on us. Pretty soon, we are benching a whole lot more than we ever thought possible. We are learning more than we ever thought we would learn. We are doing more than we ever thought we would do. Iron is entering our souls, and we are developing that heroic endurance, perseverance, and strength that only comes through difficulty.
The Bible tells us, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2–4). In the original language, the word used here for "patience" means, "perseverance," "endurance," "steadfastness," or simply "staying power."
If you are going through a time of testing and trial, realize that God has a purpose in it. Who knows that He is not preparing you and training you today for what He will do in your life tomorrow?