We all go through things that we don’t like—a coworker gets on our nerves, a child is being difficult, a dream is taking longer than we thought. It’s easy to live frustrated, wondering why it’s not changing. But I’ve learned that God uses difficulties, delays, and inconveniences to do a work in us. If the situation is not changing, maybe God is using it to change you. Don’t just go through it being upset, bitter, or offended; grow through it. That’s an opportunity to get stronger, to develop your character, to build your spiritual muscles.
We don’t grow so much in the good times. We grow in the difficult times. The Scripture says “the genuineness of your faith…is tested by fire” (1 Peter 1:7). When someone does you wrong, that’s a test. God is seeing if you’re going to get bitter and try to pay them back, or if you’re going to take the high road and forgive. When you don’t get the promotion you deserve, He’s seeing if you’re going to get upset and bad mouth the company, or if you’re going to keep being your best, knowing that He has something better coming.
When the Israelites were in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, the Scripture says that God didn’t take them the easiest way because they weren’t prepared for war. The longer route with the delays and difficulties wasn’t because God wanted to make their life miserable. God was getting them ready for enemies that would have defeated them. The mistake the Israelites made was they didn’t grow through it. They didn’t pass the test. They became negative and bitter and complained when it wasn’t easy, when it was taking too long, when things weren’t going their way. Because they didn’t pass the test, because they never grew, never developed their faith and character, they spent forty years in the desert and never entered the Promised Land.
How you handle difficulties will determine whether you make it into your promised land. God has the good breaks, the right people, and the resources for you, but before that happens you have to prove to Him that you can handle it. The way you’re tested is in the fire of affliction—in disappointments, delays, when you’re not getting your way. Recognize that those are opportunities to prove to God who you are. You’re not weak; you’re a warrior. You don’t fall apart when trouble comes; you are strong in the Lord. You don’t complain that you can’t take it anymore; you can do all things through Christ. You don’t live offended by people who did you wrong; you let God be your vindicator. That’s how you don’t just go through it; you grow through it.