By Ryan Shaw
Ryan serves as the international lead facilitator of Student Volunteer Movement 2 and currently lives among the unreached.
How do you respond when hardships and unpleasant circumstances arise in your life? Complaints, harsh reactions, anger, retaliation, criticism, even blaming God are all common reactions to pain.
Whether the pain is inflicted by others (often those closest to us) or by circumstances in life, another response is available to believers. We can position ourselves humbly before God asking, “What are you trying to teach me?”
This is the million dollar question that will revolutionize your life if you make a habit of asking it in every difficult situation. The Lord doesn’t waste any experiences in our lives, but uses every one of them to build us, shape us, mold us, break us, and make us more like Jesus.
The pruning hand of God hurts! Much of the junk we deal with doesn’t get weeded out easily. But if we truly desire to please Him and see His fruit in our lives, we can embrace this process, letting the Lord do what He wants in and through us.
Look at every Biblical character who accomplished anything for God. Each of them endured painful experiences and challenges, yet they responded by pouring themselves out in utter dependence on Him. Being able to recognize God’s shaping processes is pivotal to the growth of every young leader.
After David had been anointed (future) king, he was persistently pursued by Saul. Often despairing for his life, he still refused to kill Saul – or even speak against him – when the opportunity came. While his integrity and character were severely tested during this time of hardship, he passed the tests faithfully!
Integrity may be the most important trait of a godly leader and God will consistently arranges opportunities for us to be tested in this area. For many of us, these lessons in character come again and again.
A.W.Tozer once wrote, “The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it!” Do you want to be effective for the Kingdom of God globally?
Then learn the lessons that every man and woman of God has had to learn. Press into God like never before in the middle of hardship and embrace what He’s trying to work into you, allowing Him to teach you His ways, no matter what the cost.