We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life … But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9

This is one of the clearest indications in the Bible as to why we experience difficulties. In this incident, Paul and his companions experienced many hardships so they would rely on God and his resources. It’s a hard lesson to learn because often we think we’re resourceful enough not to need help from God or others. The world would tell us we can achieve anything we want if we try hard enough. But the truth is we’re so dependant on God we cannot even take our next breath unless he allows us to do so. It’s in the hard times we realise we aren’t as competent and self-sufficient as we’d like to think. Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances so we trust in God alone.

I read the story of a lady who was giving her testimony to a group of people. It was a sad tale of how she was raised in an orphanage with her hopes of being adopted constantly dashed. As she was telling her story she realised it was moving her audience to tears. “Don’t be upset,” she said, “I needed my past. You see—it brought me to God.”

Often it’s the sorrows and hardships of our lives which bring us to a point of seeking God, either for the first time or subsequent time. C.S. Lewis explains it this way, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Pain is God’s amplifier.