The difference lies in the way we handle adversity. All of us are afforded the same grace in Jesus, the same help in time of need, the same presence of Christ and the same comfort in times of suffering.
But it is in the way we handle the hard times that determines whether we grow or not. People who grow to maturity faster are those who have the habit of going to God when they face adversity. And by that I mean people who accept pain, grief, disloyalty and betrayal as Jesus did. They look to Jesus for the proper response. They frame their reaction by the filter of God’s word, not by the dictates of their raging emotions. They accept opposition and isolation, believing that better things are yet to come.
Armed with a sure hope that God is in control, these people cope with adversity with a spirit of peace and joy and a sense of eagerness that God is up to something better. Yes they are beaten and probably hurt, but the bigness of their hope in Christ eclipses the pain of this world.
Other Christians, however, have never mastered the art of coming to God in times of adversity. That doesn’t mean they are less committed to Christ or that they love God less. That only means that in times of trouble, they’d rather trust their feelings and conclusions than the truths of Scriptures. They don’t come to God to get their cues on what to do next or how to react correctly. If truth be told, the best they can do is to stagger through in a spirit of disappointment with God, feeling all the time that He has let them down.
It is easy to see the reason why the first category of Christians mature faster. They have a fortitude of the spirit that can only come from a disciplined habit of coming to God in authentic prayer and meditation. And by meditation, I mean reading, reflecting, drawing conclusions from Scripture and applying those conclusions into one’s life.
Inspired by J. I. Packer’s A PASSION FOR HOLINESS