None of us will have a problem-free life, and what we often don’t realize is that we achieve transformation through our troubles, strengthening our character while providing an opportunity for us to grow closer to God.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
– James 1:2-4
Even today’s motivational gurus, such as Tony Robbins echo what the Bible has taught for millennia. Robbins says: “Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.” He adds: “In life you need either inspiration or desperation.”
The latter quote by Robbins is very apt. When we’re doing well, we tend to rely on ourselves. But it is only in the midst of struggles or outright desperation that we begin seeking answers and our purpose.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
–2 Corinthians 4:17
Life is a series of struggles. But each struggle tends to shape us, strengthen us and serves to help us focus better.
It seems that when people reach times of desperation – that’s when they finally reach out to God for help. And God uses these moments to bring us closer to Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
God answers our prayers and brings us what we need, offering healing, saving, mercy, hope. In such moments, God not only shows His glory, but uses our time of struggle as an opportunity to help us renew our faith. God will provide for those who trust in him.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.'”
– Matthew 19:23-24
Jesus preached that wealthy people face more of a challenge when it comes to developing a closeness to God. Because they have such wealth, they tend to focus on their own power and have a lesser tendency to reach out to God in times of struggle. In fact, some see themselves as their own gods and have no need for God whatsoever. If they have any god they serve at all, it is the god of money.
And this is where wealth becomes a curse – when it takes us away from God. Conversely, this is where struggles can be a blessing because they draw us nearer to God.
No person lives a trouble-free life. Of course, there are people in the world who are born into wealth or obtain well and that certainly gives them an advantage in dealing with certain types of problems that money can solve. However, money does not make the wealthy immune to things such as disease, accidents, or becoming victims of the cruel actions of others.
But those relatively few people aside, most humans have to deal with considerable amount of struggles in their lives.
The late Reverend Billy Graham, in his writings, said: “God does not condemn people because they are rich, nor does He justify others because they are poor. Poverty is not a virtue, nor are riches themselves sin.”
“Money with all of its advantages cannot buy everything, but Christ gave His all to save us,” Graham points out. “Make Him the center of life in every way.”