2 Corinthians 11:23-30 (KJV)

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Paul spent his life serving Christ, and yet he experienced continual suffering.

Why would God let one of His most faithful servants go through so much pain? This isn’t just a question about Paul; it’s an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships, but He doesn’t necessarily do so.

Maybe our reasoning is backwards.

We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is what produces continual sufferings. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials, or pain, we’d never really know God, because we’d never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will.

I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith.

But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never been challenged by hardship? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful.

For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by pain, persecution, and adversity?

Depending on your response, trials can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity.

If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.

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