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Overcoming Trials and Building Endurance

Read This: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Think: Karen’s testimony is both humbling and inspiring. Her sweet spirit and strength of character is a powerful picture of what God can do in our lives—not just in spite of our tribulations but because of them.

We each carry burdens through life. Sometimes it’s just the daily grind and all the little things that add up. But other times our world gets rocked. When our hearts break, when it takes a while to find a good enough reason to get out of bed, when we question God’s goodness, when we can’t see through to the other side, or when there is no other side—those are the times we need to trust that God can turn our ashes into something beautiful for his namesake.

In John 9 Jesus is walking down a road when he sees a man who was born blind. His disciples ask him who had sinned that he would be born this way, the man or his parents. Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him” (3). Then he spat on the ground to make mud and put it on the man’s eyes. He told the man to go and wash, so the man went and washed it off and came back seeing.

Some people are born with their burdens; others have picked theirs up along the way. Maybe it’s your own fault, maybe someone else’s, or maybe it just happened—the point isn’t how your trial came about, but your response to it. We all get mud in our eyes, but we have to wash it off to see Jesus more clearly and show him to others. James 1:2-4 says, “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.”

Every trial is an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit mold us to be more like Jesus—to forgive without an apology, to show kindness when the world expects bitterness, to trust in the midst of sorrow, to hope when it seems hopeless. As Karen quoted at the end of the video, “‘tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word . . . Oh for grace to trust him more.”

Ask: What is the biggest trials you’ve had to face? What did you learn about God through that? Do you feel your faith is stronger now? Can you think of others who have been refined by difficult circumstances?

Pray: Spend time reflecting on the trials you’re facing now, big or small. Ask God to show you where your character needs refining. Pray for strength, not just to get through the trials but to shine through them.