God allows challenges in our lives because he needs us to be equipped to fulfill the great plans he has for us. He wouldn’t let anything come our way if he didn’t have a purpose for it. Sometimes these challenges can be people standing in opposition to us. Sometimes they can be obstacles strewn across our path. They are there to teach us and test us. We don’t grow a fraction as much when the going is smooth as when the going is tough.
The question is: How do we deal with the challenges we face? Paul has some words of wisdom to offer: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Substitute ‘temptation’ with ‘challenge,’ and Paul’s words hold equally valid.
There are three things God assures us. One, everybody faces challenges. We can sometimes feel like we are being singled out for testing. We aren’t. Everybody is having a rough time! If they can get through it, then so can we! Remember, I have been writing these lessons from a wilderness; these are not abstract pontifications!
Two, God will never give us a challenge we cannot overcome. I know that sometimes we believe the challenges we face are greater than we can handle, but let us take encouragement from the fact that God believes we can overcome them!
Three, when the challenges persist, as they often do, God will give us the strength to endure them. Paul went through some horrific challenges all his Christian life, but his faith in God gave him the ability to conquer it all. “When I am weak, then I am strong,” he famously declared, as he put all his trust in God’s grace. And God’s grace saw him through.
Grace will see us through! So, let us not be dismayed by the challenges that come our way. Or frustrated when they persist. Or distressed when they keep getting harder. If you have ever played a video game, even Candy Crush, you will know that games get increasingly challenging as you progress through them. But then, the pay-off gets correspondingly bigger. Games wouldn’t be much fun otherwise. If we can have the same attitude about life, we will become stronger, more resilient, and infinitely happier.
So, dear friend Face those challenges. And don’t forget: the tougher the challenge, the bigger the payoff.