The following is an excerpt from In Touch Devotional, Friday July 17th, 2015 written by Dr. Charles Stanley, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta.
“It doesn’t seem fair, does it? The apostle Paul spent the second half of his life serving Christ, yet he experienced continual suffering.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-30 state that Paul was beaten multiple times, shipwrecked three times, stoned, robbed, experienced hunger, thirst, cold, exposure to the elements, and countless dangers. Yet he didn’t boast about his bravery but instead his weaknesses. He then countered with the statement, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (through his relationship with Christ). “Why would God let one of his most faithful servants go through so much pain? This isn’t a question just about Paul; it’s an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships” (e.g. prostate and other cancers and diseases) “but He doesn’t necessarily do so.
Maybe our reasoning is backwards. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is what produces faithful Christians. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials or pain, we’d never really know God, because we’d never need Him. Adversity simply teaches more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will.
I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know that God can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never been challenged by hardship? The Lord gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful. For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by persecution, pain and adversity?
Depending on your response, trials can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.”
If you are not sure of your relationship with God through Christ, or want to know more about having one, see the following website link.