And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture… …And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. Luke 8:6,13
Embracing the fact that following Jesus doesn’t make everything good or easy all the time, gives us permission to endure any “times of testing” and to do so with God. And this perseverance through the struggle is where God does some of his best work in us and matures us as followers of Jesus.
Jesus never promises that our lives will be free of struggle. In fact, he said quite the opposite: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV).
We should expect to go through heartache and pain, suffering and loss, because they are part of what it means to be human, and they can be useful in our development. As James said, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
I have grown much more through my trials than I have through my successes. I do not ask for trials… but I am learning to trust God in the midst of them.
— James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God