Whenever opposition arises, God’s grace thrives in us. Think about what happens to a tree when a great storm beats violently against it. The wind threatens to uproot the tree and carry it away. It breaks off branches and blows away its leaves. It loosens its roots and blows off its buds. When the storm is over, things look hopeless.

Yet, look closer; the same storm that opened crevices in the earth around the trunk of the tree has helped the roots go deeper. The tree has access to new, deeper sources of nutrition and water. It has been purged of all its dead branches. The buds may be gone, but others will grow back more fully. That tree is now stronger, growing in unseen ways. Just wait till harvest because it’s going to bear much fruit.

Maybe you’re in a storm right now. The wind is blowing hard, shaking you violently, and you think you’re going down. Beloved, don’t panic! You’ve got to know that in the midst of the tempest, you are putting down deep spiritual roots. God is developing in you a deepening humility, a greater mourning and sorrow for sin, a heightened hunger for his righteousness.

Paul says, “Not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3, NKJV).

In 2 Corinthians 4:16-17, we read, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The word ‘working’ in this verse is the same as ‘produces’ in Romans 5:3.

God is making you a seasoned soldier of the cross, battle-scarred but battle-smart and courageous. You may get down on yourself at times, but the Lord never does. The fact is that he could have acted sovereignly at any time to pluck you out of your struggle, but he didn’t because he is using to produce strength and new life in us.