As we continue walking a long road in the midst of a very trying time, I’m reminded of the character-building power of perseverance. The Bible says that hope grows as a result of enduring suffering and trials, and I believe this is because when we undergo pain with a purpose, we cultivate inner-strength that enhances our ability to withstand even greater adversity. When I was 15 years old, I went on a missionary trip to Thailand. As a Southern California kid who was used to spending summers at the beach, this was a whole new ballgame for me. It was extremely hot and many people were dealing with strange illnesses that we had never seen in America. Every morning, we were up at sunrise and spent an hour with the Lord before we ate chicken, rice, and eggs for breakfast (which was fine for the first few days, but it got pretty old after 52). We also wore special masks, and because there was so much pollution in the air in Bangkok, they would be brown and gray by the end of the day. Nevertheless, though many aspects of the trip were extremely difficult, it turned out to be one of the most spiritually exhilarating experiences of my life because I witnessed so many miracles. During those two months, I saw a woman get hit by a car and get up without a scratch, I watched the Lord instantly heal a tumor, I beheld a disabled man walk for the first time, and I saw Jesus send rain to a drought-stricken region in response to expectant prayers.
My friend, suffering for the sake of itself is of no value to you, but suffering with a purpose is what fortifies your faith, strengthens your heart, and draws you closer to your Savior. If the current world climate finds you afflicted in mind or in circumstance, I encourage you to embrace the present pain in light of all that your soul stands to gain. Welcome the discomfort and stretching inherent in this time and ask Jesus to use every obstacle to make you stronger and more assured in Him. You are a compassionate, fierce, and victorious child of the living God, and with His help, there is no storm you cannot weather and no barrier you cannot break through!