Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  – Proverbs 3:5

I recently heard someone say that God sends us “hurdles” in life to “prove to us how strong we are.”

The idea that hard times prove to us how strong we are is a popular sentiment, one shared even by people who don’t believe in God.

But God does not send trials to His children to prove to them how strong they are. The testing that God does is not like the academic kind, where the only point is to demonstrate your abilities. We are not graded on how much strength *we* exhibit during the trial. The goal of a spiritual test is to grow us, sharpen us, shape us and to evaluate how much we trust in  God versus how much we trust in our own strength.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  -Romans 5:1-5

I don’t need God to prove to me how strong I am, because I am not strong. I am a weak, stumbling human being who stumbles all the more when she trusts in her own strength. What I do need God to do is exactly what God does – use trials and hurdles to prove to me how strong He is.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  -2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

May I never say, “Look how strong I am – that trial did not destroy me.” May it always be, “Look how strong He is – that trial did not destroy me.”

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