Ahh, problems. Good ol’ adversity. We all have them, we all deal with it. Sometimes it’s a tiny difficulty that’s over in a moment, and sometimes it crushes the air right out of your lungs. For some, there may be adversity they were born with. For others, it may be a temporary season that they just can’t seem to get out of. Whatever the problem or struggle, it comes with a side of purpose.
What’s the purpose? All problems have the potential to make you strong or make you stagnant.
Read that again.
All problems have the potential to make you strong or make you stagnant.
Think about the most majestic tree you’ve ever seen in your life. What does it have in common with all the other trees? A root system. Have you ever tried to dig roots into the ground without a shovel to carve the way through rocky, hard soil? I think trees deserve a little credit; that’s pretty amazing. They can literally grow THROUGH rocks. I’d say this demonstrates their strength and persistence pretty well. Just for fun though, go Google what makes these trees grow strong root systems.
WIND is what makes a tree into a stalwart fortress. The strong gusts blowing it around all the time cause it to fortify itself with sturdy reaction wood, or ‘stress wood,’ and forces it to adapt for optimum light and other resources. Ironically, while the wind strengthens some trees, it absolutely decimates others. If you put a houseplant outside in a little wind…
Problems and challenges are our wind. They force us to grow, to adapt, to change, to dig our roots down a little deeper and stick it out. If we don’t learn how to utilize those struggles, we can become weak and stagnant. Thus, the next time we’re hit with some trouble, it can destroy us.
Your response to trouble is solely up to you. Ever wonder how some people you know seem to just gracefully leap from problem to problem, overcoming and learning--while others get hit with minor inconveniences and it takes them out completely? What can strengthen some will destroy others: the difference is up to me and you. It hinges on an individual’s response to their adversity.
If you throw yourself a pity party, you’ll hang out there and get comfortable. You won’t learn and you won’t be strengthened. But if you can look at that opposition squarely in the face and say, “Okay. I’m angry, I’m hurt, things aren’t going the way I want them to, but God’s not finished with me yet. I can learn something from this.” Maybe it’s patience, maybe it’s contentment. Maybe it’s discipline. Maybe it’s learning to speak those things which be not as though they are. Maybe it’s gratitude or self-control. Don’t skip the lesson. Years later, when much harsher winds threaten you, you’ll see the fruits of your work. You’ll be well-rooted and strong because of how hard you had to work to overcome. You and the people around you will be so thankful you found the purpose in your problems all those years ago.