By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
Hardship Is the Best Blessing God Bestows on Us
By Xiang Yang
One day, by chance, I read such a parable: There once was a farmer whose wheat was ravaged by an insect plague and flooding. With the expectation of a good harvest the next year, he entreated God to let there be enough sunshine and sunny days so that his wheat would not be exposed to cruel winds or deep cold. Moreover, he pled with God to protect his wheat from insect attacks. Afterward, everything went the way he hoped. At the time of harvest, the wheat grew tall and golden. Just when the farmer was giving thanks to God, his wife nonetheless discovered that the ears actually contained no grains of wheat. As it turns out, if the wheat only experiences sunny, breezy days as it grows and lacks the tempering of harsh environments like extreme cold weather and strong winds, there cannot be a bumper wheat harvest.
The growth of the wheat triggered this thought in me: We also need to temper ourselves through hardships as we grow, or we will be as vulnerable as hothouse flowers, unable to adapt to various tough circumstances and grim realities. Thesays, “the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32). For one to mature, he has to suffer some frustrations and tribulations. As he undergoes more hardships and solves more problems, he will become stronger, more mature and resilient, with greater will and perseverance, and his ability to see through things and deal with difficulties will improve. So, only suffering and ordeals are beneficial to our growth; if everything goes smoothly for us, it’s not a good thing.
As far as we Christians are concerned, hardship and refinement are the best blessings from God, for they are essential for us to gain life. It is written in the Bible, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried” (Daniel 12:10). “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). There are many other similar scriptures in the Bible. These scriptures tell us that only through hardship and refinement can we be made complete by God. For example, throughout the ages, the saints and prophets who are after God’s heart have all suffered hardships before they are fit for God’s use and receive. When asked to offer Isaac, Abraham was trapped in refinement, but he finally chose to satisfy God and sacrifice his beloved only son. Only then did God bless him with the promise of making his offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the sea shore. Moses experienced forty years of hardship in the wilderness and then cast off his naturalness. After that, he was obedient to God and suitable for God’s use, and hence undertook the heavy responsibility of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. In the misery of his property and children being taken, Job maintained true faith in God and was thus perfected into a righteous man who feared God and shunned evil. As Peter followed the Lord, he experienced tribulations and refinement hundreds of times, and in the end was nailed upside down on the cross, achieving obedience unto death and love for God to the utmost. The Lord said, “Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). For thousands of years, the path of faith in God has been fraught with difficulty and hardship. We all have truly come to this realization: Hardship is the best blessing God bestows on us! Only by experiencing hardships and ordeals can we have a change in life disposition; only after there is a change in our life disposition can we be qualified to receive God’s inheritance and His promise.