Life doesn’t always work out the way you expect it to, does it? You can be walking along singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” and then – Bam! Out of nowhere, you find yourself in the middle of a trial, a test, or a storm. And when that happens, it’s easy to think, Why am I going through this, God? Why aren’t You working?

Well, the truth is God is working when your storms hit. Remember what Romans 8:28 says? “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (emphasis mine).

You see, God is good and gracious and present no matter what you’re going through. There’s never been a time in your life as a believer that you haven’t been loved by a heavenly Father who daily walks with you and lives in you through His Spirit.

And while you and I both know that trials can be very real and raw, they also can make you stronger in five ways…

1. Your storms can help you be steadfast. When there’s pain or a problem, we want out as fast as possible. But James tells us in James 1:3 that “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” We learn patient endurance under pressure. God wants to build our “faith muscle” so we don’t get crushed by a crisis.

2. Your storms can help you mature. As we persevere in a storm, God is perfecting us. As James says, “Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:4). What’s the goal during a storm? To grow more like Christ. God wants His kids to grow and mature!

3. Your storms can give you a new perspective. We don’t always know why trials hit, but they can help us see life more clearly and from God’s perspective. We need wisdom to get through trials, so James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom… ask God, who gives generously…” (1:5).

4. Your storms can help you learn humility. Trials can bring us to our knees before God. And in that humbling moment, we come to know God like we’ve never known Him before – as the Lord of our life and the Lord of all.

5. Your storms can help you gain new vitality. Pain produces spiritual power for ministry. The people I respect the most are those who’ve been through the deepest struggles, yet emerged stronger and better. Our tests can become our testimony, and our mess can be our message if we let God strengthen and sustain us.

God rarely uses anybody in a great way who hasn’t been broken. So if you’re going through a storm today, remember: God is at work in your life. He loves you. He wants the best for you. Thank Him that He loves you enough to prepare you for something better and greater in your life than you ever thought possible.