“Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil.”
~ Epictetus (Greek philosopher)
I’ve always believed that when God puts an obstacle in front of us, be it a temptation, a difficult decision, or a trial, he does it because he knows we are capable of overcoming and being victorious. As the loving father he is, he would never put us up against something we are not prepared or equipped to overcome.
I think he often uses these trials to push us, not so that he can see where our limits stand, but so that we can see how much we are actually capable of handling.
I’ve also always thought that when trying times abide in our lives, it’s because he is trying to make us stronger. And well, he usually needs to make us stronger because he knows we will need to draw upon that strength in the future. I don’t know, but maybe trials are his way of preparing us for what’s to come.
I think it’s the same principle as when we build muscle in our bodies. First it’s painful because in order to build up our muscle mass, we must first tear apart the very fibers and tissues holding it together. We all know the phrase… no pain, no gain.
But when God is trying you and pushing you in pretty much every aspect, it sorta makes you wonder what he’s trying to prepare you for. Why the sudden spike in the building of spiritual muscle? Makes you wonder what sort of trials are to come. At least in my case.
Yesterday was a pretty tough day. And for a good part of the day I was so ready to throw in the towel. I kept wondering why my life could never just be simple. I felt angry that I was being pushed so hard. I didn’t want to be pushed anymore. I wanted someone to cut me a break. At that moment, I wasn’t interested in finding out how much I could take before I finally caved.
Then as I sat on a bench, in the middle of Mexico city, with tears running down my cheeks and my head in my hands… the most random thought popped into my head. It was a name. Helen Keller.
And then I thought that all good stories, especially life stories, always have a good plot, an abundance of opposition and plenty of ups and downs. That’s what makes them interesting, after all. They keep us hooked, waiting to see what happens next. And I guess that’s what makes them worth repeating, retelling and passing them down… that’s what makes them memorable.
My dad once told me that it’s easy to love those that deserve to be loved, the people who inspire love in us, the kind that deserve it, that welcome it and that return it. But what do we learn from that? When God commanded us to Love one another, I’m sure he had in mind that we love everyone, but especially those that don’t make us loving them any easy. Loving those that don;t inspire love in us, that’s the real test.
I think it’s the same with being the person you want to be. It’s easy to be that person when life is light shade of pink. The real question is, can you still be the person you want to be, the person you know you can be, when life isn’t going the way you would like it to go? Can you still smile? And keep the faith? And be patient? And put your shoulder to the wheel?
I think it’s during these times that our true character come forth. But it’s also in times like these when we decide what character we want to have. And it’s at time like these when we can start developing that character, in case we realize we haven’t already.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering
can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired,
and success achieved.
~ Helen Keller