I’ve enjoyed watching our school kids grow up. Many grew up in our church and went through our Christian school and Bible college. I have high hopes for every one of them. They have been given a quality education in a great learning environment and are ready to take their training wherever God is calling them.

But Bible knowledge without spiritual understanding can be a very dangerous thing. Unless these Christian high school and college graduates are put through some hardships, they will never make it—intellectual pride and a judgmental spirit will ruin them. Adversity is God’s way of producing the character education cannot provide. There’s no way to develop character without it.

The afflictions of life are the pressure which turns the coal of knowledge into diamonds of conviction. David developed much of his character when he fled for his life from King Saul. The Apostle Paul learned contentment from his trials and imprisonments. The Early Church began most of its world outreach only after persecution pushed it outside the city limits of Jerusalem.

Now I’m not telling you to go and pray to be afflicted, because God will send affliction whether you ask for it or not. But when you are afflicted, pray that you’ll take it correctly and realize God’s using it to make you a better person. Remember this when you’re about to lose your house or you get turned down for a job interview. Don’t give up hope when God has to break you, because He will make of the fragments a precious diamond of character.

The godly have some good in them, therefore the devil afflicts them; and some evil in them, therefore God afflicts them. — Thomas Watson

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder