“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all,” Sam said to Joe during a coffee break.  “Why is life so harsh?”

Joe replied: “Sam, don’t be too hard on yourself, things have a way of working out for our good.”

We’ve all had similar thoughts and conversations.  Yes, there are adversities in life—the lost job, business failure, financial loss, serious illness, or an unfaithful friend.  Be slow to condemn, and reserve judgment because adversity may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Although life can be harsh, it takes difficulties to produce good.  It’s the grinding rock that puts a fresh sharp edge on the plow that breaks up the hard soil for the crops to grow.

No one looks forward to surgery, but it’s the bloody surgeon’s scalpel that cuts away the foreign tumor.

It’s the north wind that forces the pine sapling to send down deep roots in the earth so it can grow tall and big.  From it we get building materials for constructing our homes, and for industry.

The sculptor’s hard hammer and brutal chisel chips away at the stone and produces a masterpiece.

Yes, the chisel, the hammer, the scalpel, the wind, the grinding rock are all our friends.

Trouble is not always trouble!  It is often God’s way of making us think, turn around, sit still, work harder, pray, or start over again.

How does trouble benefit you?  When it protects you from an unknown hazard on the road ahead.  When it gives you courage to discard unworthy clutter from your life.  When it makes you furious enough to fight for a good cause you were too busy to think about.  When it causes two parties, long unspeaking, to bury the hatchet.  When it stirs up gratitude for gifts you have taken too long for granted.

Just what kind of people do you think we would be if we never had any trouble!  We would be weaklings—like plants sprouted, grown and overprotected in the hothouse, too tender to live in the open.

We learn courage in the face of danger.  We learn patience when we endure suffering.  We learn to prize true friends when false ones forsake us.  We treasure health when illness trikes.  We learn to cherish freedom when we are in danger of losing it.

The Bible teaches us about strength for living when trouble comes: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).

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