Like any good father, God wants to see His children grow. And His primary way of growing our faith is through adversity—there simply is no more effective way of deepening our relationship with Him. But we must choose to view adversity as an opportunity, rather than as an obstacle. When we do that, we grow in our Christlikeness. Adversity is a given. Growth is optional.
When a child is born, we naturally expect him to grow, and if he doesn’t, there’s a problem. This same principle applies to the Christian life as well. Salvation is the beginning of our relationship with Christ, but God doesn’t want us to stay immature. After being born again through faith in Jesus, we should continually grow in the grace and knowledge of Him (2 Pet. 3:18). By reading the Bible, praying, and observing how the Lord works, we will increase in Christlikeness and obedience. But the Lord also uses a surprising means to bring us to maturity. Adversity is part of the universal experience of all believers, and it can either hinder or accelerate our spiritual growth— it all depends on how we respond.
Adversity is a condition of suffering and hardship involving anguish, pressure, trials, heartaches, or disappointments. It may be physical or emotional in nature, and either long or short in duration, but it always causes pain. Although none of us want hurt or trouble, if it comes, we have two options. We can waste our sorrows or grow in our relationship with the Lord.