Charles Stanley (July-29-2021) Daily Devotional: Developing Faith Through Adversity
2 Corinthians 11:23-30 - 23 Are they servants of Christ?--I speak as if insane--I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? 30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
Paul spent years serving Christ, yet he experienced continual suffering. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why would God let him go through so much pain? It’s a question many of us ask today about ourselves. We think the Lord should protect us from hardships, but He doesn’t always do so.
Maybe our reasoning is backward. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is part of being a Christian. If we all had lives of ease without pain, we’d never really know God, because we would never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us things that simply reading the Bible never will.
I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know the Lord can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never experienced hardships? God gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful.
Trials can be a means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity—it’s up to you. But if you’ll apply God’s Word to your situation, your trust in Him and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.