• Scott Watkins

What Hardships Tell Us About God

I used to think there was a rock-cut staircase leading to the top of the mountain of God, with benches to rest along the way. I just needed to find it, and then the path to the top would be smooth sailing. When I realized there wasn’t, I was offended. I mean, seeking God is a good thing, right? Why shouldn’t he make it easy for us?

But the path to knowing God isn’t easy; sometimes the journey is painful.

James said we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials. (James 1:2)

The writer of Hebrews says it should encourage us when we face hardship because it is a sign our Father is lovingly disciplining us (Hebrews 12:7). This isn’t punishment disguised as discipline. It is discipline that sobers us, enabling us to see Him more clearly.

Hardships are evidence of God’s desire for me to know him. They come despite my best efforts to avoid them. And my difficulties seem uniquely designed to push my buttons and challenge my very specific weaknesses. God customizes them to me specifically. Can you see the affections of the Father in them?

He knows where I am weak and where I need a little more practice. He designed my course specially to challenge me in areas I need growth. God is not putting me through some off-the-shelf training course. My development isn’t subject to a one-size-fits-all approach.

In this knowledge I can consider it pure joy to face trials and be encouraged when I face hardship.

The pathway to God isn’t as easy as walking up a cleared path. It is often hard work. Suffering can push us away, or it can draw us closer. Don’t miss his love and affection in the difficulties along the way.