Growing Bitter or Growing Better

Keith Holloway

In our humanity, we seem to have an inclination toward focusing on our problems. Sometimes rightfully so because they can be tremendous challenges that are overwhelming.

Many of you are facing unbelievable things. In our ministry at World Challenge, we get thousands of letters and emails coming in with people just pouring their hearts out in prayer requests. I've read some of those lately. Honestly, it’s shocking what many people are living through: drug addiction, alcoholism, infidelity, broken relationships, financial troubles. The list goes on and on.

Yet so many people get their ‘daily bread’, if you will, from watching the news, reading online reports or watching reality shows that are filled with lies, cheating, murdering, stealing and all manner of depravity over and over again. It's not surprising that people are in depression and suicide is at an all-time high.

Even many believers are being shaken in their faith and in their walk, feeling like God is not with them. People have turned against them, and they have started asking the questions of “Who am I? What am I here for? Is it worth it?”

I want to bring you a word today that I believe is a wonderful word.

Peter wrote the early church and encouraged believers, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7, ESV).

When trials come, we can either grow better or grow bitter. The opportunity is there, but it's our response to crisis. Crises aren’t what causes our faith to falter or that change us. Our response to a crisis is what determines whether we grow better or we grow bitter.

Conduct yourself courageously. Admit and recognize the pain and suffering, but also equally recognize and admit that we have an eternal hope. Hope is an expectation of God's good to come to us, no matter how deep, no matter how dark, no matter how long our troubles are. We have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The mercy of God is abundantly available to us today. He's born us again into a living hope.