In 1909 the Olympic runner from Tanzania, John Stephen Akhwari, fell as he was running. He had hurt his head and legs but dragged himself to finish the marathon. When asked why he forced himself to endure unnecessary agony, he replied “My country did not send me 10,000 miles just to start the race but to finish it.
Learning how to overcome adversity is important today because, while learning to parachute is optional and learning to macramé is optional, learning to face adversity isn’t! “In the world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
Every believer has troubles; even your neighbor. They might be different from yours, or they may not even appear to have them, but believe me they do. Troubles are part of life for believers and nonbelievers. This means that trouble is normal but the big advantage is that we have Gods help and presence as we get through it. Knowing that troubles are normal, helps us persevere. Even while Elijah the prophet, was on vacation in the desert, he had a few changes and challenges. First abundance, then famine, then ravens, and then a poor widow helps him only to have her son die. It was an intense couple of years. God was training him to have an open ear toward God.
God is not trying to make great difficulties for us but he is seeking to make us great. God was growing Elijah for his tomorrow and us for ours. He was making a man of God. A man who could pray down a revival, confront kings and turn back nations. A man who could pray earnestly and see the heaven opened over his nation.
Your troubles are making you into something and being exercised is making you stronger. God is developing conquerors, not survivors. The hardest thing about being a Christian is living on the earth; being a Christians in heaven will be the easy part. Jesus told the Church at Smyrna to be faithful in death but for us, it more likely means being faithful in life – which might be harder. Expecting to have heaven now, where there is no sickness, no trouble, no sadness or trials, will only be a cause of a different type of pain and suffering. But we are left here on earth by God for a purpose; to learn to walk in His blessing and to be a blessing as we fulfill our purpose. There is a sure way to get into the blessing of God and a certain way into our destiny but there is no easy way. When we look at the end of Joseph’s life we think we would all like to be that person – sitting on a golden chariot, eating grapes and ruling the world. But you and I both know what it took for him to get there. He was attacked, abused and accused. Nobody goes straight to success they have to keep persevering.
Friend, sometimes we’d like to miss out the process which God is using to bring us through to our promise. For everything you have in God, there is a price to pay. My daughter had a baby last month but not without labor. There is no glory without a story. God is developing you for your future and many times it is the hard moments that we have to deal with, that really develop us the most.