“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I don’t know about you, but it really irritates me when someone says this to me in the middle of a trial, even if it is said with good intentions. The last thing I want to hear is that my hardship is somehow good for me. But the truth is, sometimes this is correct. Sometimes, the very thing I resent most in my life is the very thing that makes me a better version of myself. My son, who just completed his freshman year of high school, shared with me his assertion statement that he used and supported on his English final. It really struck a chord with me.
“I suggest true identity is revealed during one’s response to the challenges that he faces.” – Brett Landmon
True identity. Hmmm. His claim suggests that a person’s identity isn’t fully realized until he has been challenged. In other words, you really don’t become you until you have endured and reacted to life’s difficult moments. This makes trials an integral part in one’s development.
I know I am getting philosophical here, but bear with me. God is a God of love. And like a parent, He wants us to become the best us we can be. With that being said, He allows us to undergo difficulties and trials so that we emerge into strong, faith-filled people. The result is an identity found in Him, and Him alone.
Let’s look at the life of Joseph. There is no better example in the Bible regarding this truth. Joseph had a dream from the Lord, showing him that one day he would be ruling over his brothers. Like a normal teenage boy, he was excited about what the future held. Naively, Joseph didn’t comprehend the road ahead. It was a road that would be marked with difficulty and hardship – betrayal, slavery, seduction, and prison.
I’m guessing that young Joseph may not have been so excited about his future if he had seen what he had to go through in order to get there. However, all these challenging circumstances were necessary to develop his identity. It grew his faith, confirmed his commitment to God, and ultimately prepared him to lead a country and save it and his entire family from famine.
Some of you have seen glimpses of your future, maybe even through a dream or prophetic word like Joseph. Yet, your current situation doesn’t line up with what you thought your future held. You feel defeated, and the dreams once inside of you are starting to fade away.
Please don’t let today’s trial prevent you from embracing your future. Life may be hard. It may not make sense. But, if you are truly submitted to God and His ways, one day it will come to be. You are in the process of building your identity. As you go through each trial, God is preparing you for the next step, building spiritual muscle and leaving a trail of His faithfulness in your path.
Remember, God didn’t change his mind about Joseph. And, God hasn’t changed his mind about you. God knows what it required to prepare you for your destiny. So ladies, follow Joseph’s example. Don’t become bitter. Let your trials and hardships help you become better.
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