Frederick Robertson writes, "The best things in life are the result of being wounded." Bread comes from wheat kernels that are crushed. A sweet fragrance can only come from the incense as it is burned. For a plant to grow, a seed must die. And before that seed's death can do any good, the ground must be scarred by the plow to prepare it. Even hearts that are wounded can serve as the most fruitful place for God's hand to work.
Paul challenged many of the new believers in the early church with this teaching:
We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22 NIV
Who knows how the scars of our life prepare us for the lessons of a loving God? And can I really know what my life would have been like without the hardships that have dotted the landscape of my life? I can only pray that each of those trials, each of those burdens will prepare my heart for the seeds that God longs to plant.
I'm not crazy. I know there are lessons that I would have never learned had it not been for some test that God used to make me ready. Some of the lowest points of my life have been the greatest classrooms for learning. And that reality brings a necessary change in how we view the trials that people go through. Just like you can't take my 9 year old and rush her through to 10th grade, rushing people through their trials may "short-circuit" some of the lessons God has in store. I don't mean to say that we shouldn't try to ease their pain or give them guidance. I simply see that guiding someone through trial is far different from pulling them through it. Every brush with hardship must be accompanied by the sincere prayer, "God, what would you have me (them) to learn as you guide me (them) through this?" The greater tragedy would not be the hardship but to miss all that God would choose to show you in the midst of your difficulty.