The sternest tests awaken unknown strengths when faith comes matched to the trial. Two realities come enjoined, as if stars aligning, when challenges, conflicts, and controversies combine with the inner patience of grace to remain unbuckled under the weight of the burden.
The only way we can prove we have any strength of character is when we are tested. No one ever enjoys being tested, not if they’re being both honest and humble, but there is a pleasant irony in being tested. There is a crown to be earned in being tested where we are found worthy of the test. During such times we require composure; the courage to sustain an even-keel attitude, with the situational wisdom to show restraint against an emotional response.
Being stirred up by people who wish to upset us, or being shaken by a disturbing, grief-laden event, or being tested by an unrelenting season of life; these are as predictable in coming as they are in their ferocity. We need courage. We need several forms of courage. We need wisdom of the sort that reflects courage. We need to apply faith which is truly the application of courage together with the discernment and decisiveness of wisdom in remaining steadfast.
Courage is required in the instant. If we are prepared to enter the fray courageously, that step of faith will be rewarded. Courage is the momentary application of trust – in God, in the moment to redeem itself upon our understanding, and in the willingness to delay judgment. We cannot be strengthened if we haven’t been previously weakened. There is a necessary testing that must come as a precursor to strengthening. Being strengthened occurs as a product of a testing time in combination with an insightfully wise response.
Being stirred, shaken, and tested are opportunities and not just challenges. If it wasn’t for such things there would be no impetus for strengthening; for the sort of growth our characters need to mature. Again, we don’t thrive on being stirred, shaken, or tested, but there is a crown of blessing for having endured it. Endurance is our key. And anything that will help that end should be considered, but only the things that support virtues like patience, wisdom, faith, and courage should be applied.
If we are prepared to enter the fray courageously, our step of faith will be rewarded. Courage is the momentary application of trust. Trusting God is a worthy response. Courage, faith, and trust: these three reflect wisdom and they ensure we are strengthened.