Joe remembered landing on his arm with a thud and screaming in pain as it snapped. He remembered how his fragile, fifth-grade body trembled as tears flowed freely. The man mentally replayed his painful childhood accident. But he remembered his dad telling him his bones would heal, even stronger than before. True to Dad’s word, he was soon back on the playing field. The weeks of painful growth paid off.

As much as we hate pain, growth always follows. Fragile “bones” of relationships will be broken, trust will be shaken, and friends will turn on you — but God often uses these things to make you stronger. Yet if we don’t understand God’s role in our pain, we’ll become very discouraged.

Many of the men God used to write the Bible endured “pressing times.” David, Job, and Paul experienced intense hardships through which God developed their character and transformed them into bold witnesses. He does the same for us. Each trial we pass through makes us stronger.

Your “pressing experience” may be overwhelming job responsibilities. Perhaps you’ve just seen a relationship fall apart, or you’ve been hurt by someone you love.

Bring your trials before God today. Reflect upon His ultimate purpose — to bring you to spiritual maturity. And remember, blessing always follows pressing. You’ll emerge stronger and better equipped to handle the hardships of life.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder