Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV
When we find ourselves facing challenges and tough times, we can end up asking God, ‘Why?’. We wonder what we’ve done to bring about these difficulties, and we can wonder why God isn’t taking the struggles away. But the truth is, we don’t go through tough times because we’re being punished, we go through them because suffering is in the world. Until Jesus comes again, we’re all going to have to go through times of trouble. The Bible says we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re facing struggles. ‘Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you’ (1 Peter 4:12 NIV). Instead of asking, ‘Why?’ we need to ask God, ‘What do You want me to learn from this experience?’ And instead of asking God to improve our circumstances, we need to ask Him to use our circumstances to improve us. Tough times are great opportunities for us to learn more about ourselves, and more about God. They show us how much we trust God, and how much we rely on our own strength. Moses instructed the Israelites to ‘Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness…to humble and test you.’ We might not enjoy time in the wilderness, but God can use that time to shape us and grow us. He doesn’t delight in our suffering, but He delights in our development. Paul wrote: ‘God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished’ (Philippians 1:6 NCV). Every challenge we face, large or small, is equipping us for the future God has in mind for us.