In the past few years, at varsity and even before then I have experienced numerous hardships. I have faced rape, molestation, verbal and emotional abuse, illness, drug abuse of people around me, alcohol abuse, my own breakup & breakups of friends and death. Rape, abuse, illness around me as well as death has been prominent in the last 11 months. People I know have battled extensively with illness, people I know have been raped and abused and I have faced ±17 deaths in these 11 months… All these have also taken a toll on my academics this year. So, the struggle has been hard and deep in these past few months and if there is anyone who understands about having issues – I do. With all this, it has been easy to lose joy and hope and mope around but although it has cut deep, it has deepened my walk with God immensely as well as has me humbled and appreciative of what I have and people in my life.
Often though, these situations have left me confused and depressed and not knowing which direction to go or what to do next. They say get up every time you stumble and try again, but these awful situations have left me in places where I was damn tired and over trying again. Irritated and feeling pretty hopeless has been a place where I have sat a number of times in 11 months. But God has come to the rescue and opened my eyes spiritually to learn a few great things. I honestly don’t know why bad things happen but I can say – God has a plan and whether or not we understand our circumstances, He does and that is enough. I honestly think that He has a plan to use all the bad that has happened to me for good and bringing glory to Him. He could use me and my experiences to help others.
God sees our potential just as clearly as He sees where we are at this very moment. God knows how to build our character and develop our faith. He wants our lives to fulfil its potential as He works in us and uses our circumstances to expand our capacity to ultimately serve Him. God will never give me more than my character can handle and same goes for you. He knows our capabilities far better than we do and He is able to initiate changes in our lives anytime He sees we’re ready. God has revealed to me about many of my hardships and through different circumstances and I can in all honesty agree and say that if in and through every hardship I have learnt something. Due to my hardships I have matured spiritually and grown. I truly feel that spiritual growth often comes when I face criticism, health problems, relationship problems or financial hardship.
We often pray that God must mature or deepen our relationship with Him, that we want to experience spiritual growth. We want to become more Christlike. God allows a stretching circumstance for our growth and then as soon as we can we have everyone around us praying to remove the latest difficulty we face. We need to decide whether we want comfort or Christlikeness because often we can’t have both. God uses these situations that stretch us, building qualities we lack. The absence of those particular qualities or character traits can hold us back from greater service to God. We need to remember that God knows what He can do through us if we’re willing to open ourselves up to Him and His plans often far exceed our own expectations or what we have in mind for ourselves. Many times, when God begins to stretch us, we become consumed with pain and miss the work He is busy doing in us.
God wants us to grow, not only in our personhood but also in our walk with Him. We will never totally arrive and there will always be room for more growth. You will never have the opportunity to retire from Christian growth. If you become comfortable & successful, perhaps God is preparing to add on a new dimension to your life, and if He is you need to be ready to respond. There are countless ways in which God can develop you but you must be willing to break through present your own personal boundaries. You get to choose to endure something uncomfortable and grow or to stay comfortable and stop growing, but if you choose to stop growing just be aware of the fact that your lack of personal growth can possibly hinder what God wants to do. Remember that humility generally comes through hardship, unfair treatment and criticism. Don’t ask for things if you aren’t sure you want them. I have learnt that myself, as I have often asked for humility as it is a quality I want and deeply cherish in others too but I have come to see that sometimes I overestimate my capacity by asking for it when I myself am not ready for the circumstances that follow. I end up having hardships and get bummed out when actually I asked for the growth process.
But I have found comfort in this following statement by Richard Blackaby: “All your hardships and disappointments may be merely foundational to the mighty work God does next.”
So take the hardships in your stride, as God will be able to use them for His glory. As every hardship comes, rather try and see what you can learn during it and how you can use it positively rather than focusing on the negative aspects.