Reflect for a moment on whether any unfortunate circumstances you have faced in life have made you a better person on the other side of it – or a more bitter person.

It’s usually one or the other

Life just somehow has a way of running us over and at times, backing up to make sure the job of discouraging us is complete. It is a fact that things will happen in this life that we don’t want, don’t like and wish would go away. I am so incredibly grateful to serve a God who walked this earth and knows first hand what it is like to have unfortunate circumstances pay a visit.

I have seen over and over (and over) again that people emerge from difficult seasons one of two ways; either better or bitter. If people come through hard times clinging to Jesus and having an overcoming spirit, then they usually are better people for the experience. They have softer hearts for others who are suffering, more transparency about their own shortcomings and a general humbleness that is wonderful to be around. However, there are those individuals who will go through adversity and not get better but will grow increasingly bitter about their circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, being frustrated is a natural response to hard times. The challenge is to not stay in our frustration so long that it turns into bitterness.

During a season of unfortunate circumstances in my own life, a wise friend would remind me enthusiastically that “Jesus has a plan and it’s working out perfectly!” This was hard to hear when I felt that things were far from perfect. If you find yourself in a difficult life experience right now, I challenge you to feel all the feelings honestly that come from this season and determine in your heart that you will emerge from this better and not bitter.

Book recommendation: “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb.