Written by: Ken Paulin, Jr.
As athletes, we want to prepare our bodies and minds so we are able to play at our full potential. Therefore, we not only train on the ice/field, but we also build off-ice strength and conditioning into our training programs.
The process of building up our strength involves a cycle where we work hard, feel pain, tear down (our muscle fibers), and build up our strength and endurance by supplementing our diets with water, protein, amino acids, etc.
The building of our faith and character is very similar. God often humbles us by breaking us down and allowing us to go through times of suffering so we can develop our endurance, character, and hope (see Romans 5:3-5). We do this by supplementing our spiritual diet with the water of the Word, prayer, and devotion.
Any parent can tell you that the hardest thing to do is to sit by and watch your child suffer. Yet our Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He sits by and allows us to suffer so He can equip and prepare us for the plans He has for us, plans that will glorify Him and produce more fruit for His Kingdom. Plans for our welfare, future, and hope (see Jeremiah 29:11).
Just like silver and gold are refined by going through fire, God refines us by putting us through the furnace of affliction (see Isaiah 48:10). By going through the pain and suffering of our trials, we gain a better understanding of where we are in our faith. God doesn’t test us to see where we are in our faith, He already knows, He puts us to the test for our benefit. We often think we are further along in our faith than we are, but through our trials, we discover ourselves and often realize although we thought we were turning control over to the Lord and trusting His plan, we really were trying to steer things our way, as if we know what’s better for us than God does.
God promises He will never give us more than we can handle (see 1 Corinthians 10:13) and He tells us not to worry, as He is always by our side (like a spotter in the gym) to encourage us and help us when the weight gets too heavy; and because He is with us, we should not worry, for He conquered the world, so helping us conquer our problems is no issue for Him (see John 16:33).
God further promises that after we have suffered a little while, He himself, will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us (see 1 Peter 5:10).
So rejoice in your sufferings, because as Romans 8:18 tells us, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
- Have you experienced trials in your life?
- During those trials, did you turn things over to God and trust His plan?
- Do you feel the need to control things, or are you able to turn everything over to the Lord and trust Him to provide, to get you were you need to be at the right time?
- Are you able to find the Joy in your sufferings?
- Are you content with where God has you right now?
- “No pain, no gain.” Are you willing to go through the pain required to build up your spiritual strength and endurance?
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
James 1:2-4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Isaiah 48:10 ESV
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
About the Author:
Ken Paulin, Jr. is a banker in Buffalo, NY. Ken is a member of the FCA Hockey Leadership Board and Chairs the Buffalo Booster Club. Ken and his son Christopher, who is a goalie for Niagara University, have been involved with FCA Hockey since 2008 and were baptized together at an FCA Hockey Camp.
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Posted on Fri, August 12, 2016
by Rick Randazzo