Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name
Hindsight is 20/20
Obviously, we can see things easier when there has been some distance of time between an event and the time that it happened. Only then can we later understand that we should have been thankful for it. I remember being with a man who was with me sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, and one lady slammed a door in our face in great anger. I thought like he did at the time, “Wow, that was rude,” but only later did we realize that we should be thankful because we were being rejected not because of who we were but because of Who Jesus is. It was a very hot and windy day. We were both thirsty and tired, and this door-slamming event didn’t feel good at the time, but only later did we feel joy about having been obedient to the Great Commission and being rejected for His sake (Matt 28:18-20/Acts 1:8). Looking back we saw that we both could be thankful for it (Matt 5:10-12; James 1:2).
Strength in the Struggle
I remember a young boy finding a cocoon. He took it home and said he wanted to wait for the butterfly to come out, so his parents put it in a jar with some holes punched into the lid so that air could get to it, but when the butterfly started opening the cocoon, the boy started helping it along. He tore part of the cocoon open so that the butterfly would have an easier time getting out. The butterfly did get out easier, as it didn’t have to struggle as much, but shortly after that the butterfly died. It seems that in the struggle to get out of the cocoon, the butterfly strengthens its wings, and it gives the wings time to dry out, too. When it received help, the wings were not strong enough to fly because there was less of a struggle for the butterfly to get out, and its wings were so weak that it simply lay down and died.
Strength in Adversity
In a biosphere experiment that a group of scientists had many years ago, they started having problems with the trees inside the self-contained unit. The trees started dying, and they couldn’t figure out why. Finally, after scientists could find no explanation for the trees dying, they came to understand that there needed to be some sort of wind in the biosphere. It seems that the trees grew so weak without having any wind resistance that the weight of their branches frequently pulled them off of the tree trunk. Scientific observations show that trees don’t grow most rapidly during times of rain or during times of sun. It seems that trees grow at their fastest rate and become the strongest during times of persistent and strong winds. The lesson is clear: When we think back to a time that we had struggled, maybe we should thank God for it because it’s likely made us stronger (1 Pet 1:6).
A Closing Prayer
Righteous God in heaven, I thank You for allowing me to face adversity, knowing that even the storms make me stronger, even if I don’t know it at the time (Acts 14:22). You know just how much is too much and the exact amount of struggle that is needed for me (1 Cor 10:13), so I thank You for the storms and praise You in all of this. In Jesus’ Holy Name I pray.
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