I've been privileged to know quite a few pretty amazing people in my lifetime. People who look and act like Jesus and make me want to do the same. As I've gotten to know some of these people very well, I've noticed that they all have something besides their faith in common and that they have all faced times of adversity and come out on the other side stronger.
The struggles have come in different forms and in different times but they have all produced the same result. People who have forsaken the worlds definition of success and instead wholeheartedly pursued only after the things that advance the kingdom of God.
I don't think we can ever fully understand how adversity effects character, but what we can know is that it does have a huge effect on a persons life. The way you and I respond to trials and tragedy literally can change the course of our future and the shape of our character.
Knowing that then, shouldn't we change the way we respond to adversity? Instead of viewing adversity as something to get through or get over, maybe we should view it as an opportunity to become the people that God created us to be. The kind of people who love God and love people with a passion and inspire others to do the same.
So how can this be accomplished? By exercising patience in times of waiting. By looking to God for strength when you are at your weakest. By sticking to your morals even when the cost is great. By loving your neighbor when it would be that much easier to hate. And by breathing, living, and walking your faith even when the world is telling you to throw it away.
By doing all of these things we open a door to growth and change in our lives, even when the storms are at their fiercest. And it is in that place that God can truly transform us into the kind of people He wants us to be. As Billy Graham once wisely said, "Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has."