“Character cannot be developed in peace and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision be cleared, ambition insured and success achieved.”
– Helen Keller
There is something of great truth in this quote by Helen Keller. I’m sure that many are familiar with her story and of the nearly impossible circumstances she faced as a child. The principle of character is one which young Miss Keller learned first hand, being trapped in a world of unimaginable isolation and suffering as a young girl who was blind, deaf, and unable to speak or effectively communicate her needs. With the help of her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen overcame great odds in learning to emerge from a dark, silent world to become the person God had intended her to be. In so doing, she made a difference in this world by bringing hope and inspiration to countless others through her life’s testimony.
John 10:10 speaks of the abundant life Jesus came to offer us, in and through His redeeming blood and by the power of His Holy Spirit. We must only choose to believe. Accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the first step in our pilgrimage. But in order to become truly like Him and grow in character, we must at times be molded, shaped, and tempered in the fires of adversity.
I find so much encouragement in the New Testament, both in the words of our Lord Jesus, as He instructs us directly, and in those of His servants, like the Apostle Paul.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)
Paul understood so well what his suffering would achieve and that it was only temporal. Led by the Holy Spirit, he wrote such words of encouragement like these to the church at Corinth:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-18 (KJV)
My friend, remember today, as you may experience periods of trail and suffering in this world, perhaps due to illness, a tragic loss, near devastating circumstance, or even because of the judgments and persecution of others- remember the words of a true servant of Christ and God’s words of comfort to you and me:
“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)
May the Lord comfort and uplift you today! Stand true to what you have believed and be assured that, as you allow your light to shine and do good to others, your labor is not in vain. Cling to the promises in God’s Word and never give up on the dream He has placed in your heart! Persevere with the hope of Christ’s return and His love in your heart, and you will grow in both spirit and character!
May God bless you today and guide you to becoming all He created you to be!
Love in Christ,