From Theory to Reality
When you go through a hardship, it will make you better or bitter. I have found it is usually one or the other. And guess who decides that? You do. You are the one who decides whether you will be better by trusting in the Lord or whether you will be bitter by turning against the Lord.
Sometimes people who have experienced a tragedy in their lives will say, "I’ve lost my faith through this." That’s good. Because their faith wasn’t real to begin with. If you are a real believer, your faith will not go away when hardship hits. It will get stronger. The faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Tragedy reveals who the real believers are.
Suffering helps us grow spiritually and makes us stronger in the faith. It takes our faith from the realm of theory to reality. It reminds me of guys who drive around in their tricked-out four-wheelers. They have done everything to their vehicles, adding massive tires and wheels as well as all kinds of hardware. But ask one of them if he ever takes his vehicle off road, and he’ll say, "Are you kidding? Do you know what I’ve spent on this thing? I’m going to the car wash." He would never consider taking his four-wheeler off road, even though that is what it was designed for.
In the same way, it’s easy to talk about our faith. But it’s another thing to live by it. A lot of us will boast about the number of years we have known the Lord and how many verses we have memorized. That is all good. But when your faith is tested, we will find out what you are really made of.
Suffering does not create character; it reveals it.