The Purpose of Hardship
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.
I have a little bird feeder hanging outside of our kitchen, where I like to watch the little birds come and get their birdseed. We have invited them. They’re our guests. But then there are birds that don’t ask to be invited. They just come and take what they want. They’re called seagulls.In the parable of the sower, Jesus talked about a sower who went out and scattered seed, some of which fell on the roadside, and the birds came and ate it. Like those birds, Satan comes immediately to take away the Word that is sown in our hearts.The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, “Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18 NKJV). Satan wants to stop us.Paul also talked about having the glorious privilege of going to Heaven. He said, “I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4 NLT). Then he was called back to Earth to live out his life. He said, “To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh. . . . Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away” (verses 7, 8 NLT).One reason God allows us to go through hardship is to keep us close to Him. Another reason is to strengthen us. James 1:3 says, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (NLT).Know this: God will never give you more than you can handle. When God allows His children to go through fiery trials, He always keeps one eye on us and one finger on the thermostat.
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