Recently all Canada was proud to see Chris Hadfield command the International Space Station and return safely to earth. But immediately a problem arose. When he came back his body was so weak that he couldnít stand or walk without help. Actually, this problem has been well-known among astronauts from many years. Being weightless and not having to work against gravity makes the body lose its strength.

We see this in several areas of nature as well. For example, when a birdís egg hatches, the baby bird must peck its way out; the mother bird wonít help it. As it struggles to get out of the egg, the baby bird gains the strength that it will need to flourish throughout its life.

How does this apply to us spiritually? We also will get weak if we never have difficult situations to deal with. The apostle Paul writes,

suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because Godís love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us (Rom. 5:3Ė5).

James goes even further. He says that we should consider it pure joy when trials come, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance which makes us mature and complete (Jas. 1:2Ė4). This doesnít mean that weíre joyful about the trial itself, but about the character growth that it will produce in our lives. And as Paul says, character produces a hope that doesnít disappoint us because it knows Godís love (Rom. 5:5). A heart that knows that God loves it will be strong enough to trust him that whatever he allows into our lives will be for our good, even if itís painful (see Rom. 8:28).

God uses difficult times to strengthen and train us for his use. Without them we wonít have the strength or Christian character to do what heís calling us to do. So instead of resisting this action of God in our lives, letís co-operate with him as he prepares us for his service.