I discovered the meaning of this in a new way when our children came into our lives. Both of them were adopted when they were ten months old and the transition was not always easy for them and for us. As one sleepless night followed another, we were stretched to the limits of what our nerves and bodies could handle. Here was a helpless little bundle who had been transported from another country to another with whole new sights, sounds and smells. While compassion and love carried us a long way, this experience pushed us deeper into exploring the dark and hidden places that tested the limits of our character.
Being kind is a lot easier when you have opportunities to retreat and renew, but the relentless need of a child helps us learn the new depths of our kindness. This is also true of marriage, friendship and life together in a local church. Sometimes the source of our frustration is not an innocent child, but someone we are quite sure should know better than to treat us the way they do. Our depth and character are revealed in those times.
A tree is only strong when the wind tries to blow it over. A tree with plenty of shallow water and little wind will never survive the testing of draught and high wind when they finally come. We are made holy when we draw deeper into our unity in Christ during those times of challenge and difficulty.
If you're going through a tough relationship, I invite you use that opportunity to deepen the roots. We often look for the easy road, but true joy and beauty come through the challenging things.
-John M Troyer
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