Life is an adventure. Some people seem to stumble their way through it, while others have the ability and agility to bob and weave their way through its obstacles. Some people have the knack to fall face first into every mud hole that dots their path in life, while others can transform the sourest moments of life into a sweet experience.
Even though he could float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee, there were a few times Muhammed Ali felt the brute force of a punch that was akin to the kick of a mule. On March 24, 1975, Chuck Wepner introduced Ali to one of the universal laws of life: Sooner or later you’re going to get hit by a punch you never saw coming!
Suffering is a thread that’s woven into the fabric of life, and it’s the sucker punch that can drop you to your knees.
Peter said you should not, “be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you (I Peter 4:12).”
Even though suffering is anything but pleasant, James said to, “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2–3).”
It’s important to note that James did not say that the suffering or trial is a joyful experience; instead, he said the joy comes in acknowledging the end result of the trial—steadfastness. The situations that shake your faith are the ordeals that form a faith that’s unshakable.
Your faith is like your muscle tissue—to get stronger, it must be stressed.
In hindsight, Paul could see the boldly colored thread of hope in the tapestry of heartache. He could see God’s purpose in the suffering he had endured: “We want you to know, Christian brothers, of the trouble we had in the countries of Asia. The load was so heavy we did not have the strength to keep going. At times we did not think we could live. We thought we would die. This happened so we would not put our trust in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).”
“This happened”, so Paul would know that God is able and that He would enable him.