When will the payoff come?

Everybody keeps telling me that it’s through suffering that we become strong. That if God wants to grow you to Christlike maturity, it will happen through testing and suffering more than comfort and victory. But how much suffering?

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote his general epistle to the “believers scattered abroad” as they endured the hardships of persecution and poverty in the ancient world. He knew God was up to something – that God was building into them a special kind of spiritual maturity, so he gave them some insight into how God was doing just that…

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

– James 1:12 NLT

God blesses… that is, he gives joy and abundance to people who patiently endure. And that’s the hard part. Enduring.

When I was walking through a pretty difficult season of life, a mentor shared with me some of the greatest advice I’ve ever been given. He said, “You can run from the fire now, but if you’re ever going to become what God wants you to become, you’ll have to walk through a fire eventually.”

I didn’t run. That time. And I grew through it. I became a stronger, more confident leader because I learned how to deal with criticism a little better.

Why are you facing this health crisis? Why is your teenager so hard to figure out right now? Why does your spouse seem so distant?

I don’t know. I don’t know the why behind your suffering, and we might not ever know. But here’s what I do know…

God has promised to bless you when you patiently endure this season.

Face the fire. Walk through your difficulty, putting one foot in front of the other a day at a time, and you… will… grow!

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