The other day, my four-year-old son asked if I could help him grow an apple tree. I laughed, then realized he was dead serious. So, we cut open an apple, grabbed three seeds, a plastic cup, and some dirt, and grew an apple tree. Well, we started the process anyway.

His little mind can’t comprehend the commitment required to see that apple tree grow from a seed. It will take far longer than he has been on planet earth for it to ever produce another apple. It could happen, but it will take time and commitment – and a lot of them.

According to James, spiritual endurance works the same way.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

— James 1:2-3 NLT —

When it comes to spiritual growth and endurance, they don’t happen through an injection or a pill. There are no shortcuts or bypasses. They just take time.

That’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: God is the Redeemer. He will use whatever pain or frustration you’re facing to grow and mature you for His glory. I know it’s tough when you’re in it, but be faithful and God will use it!

Back to my son… We planted the seeds on Saturday, and on Sunday morning at 6:30am, he jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to ask, “Dad, can I check on my apple tree?!” Run into whatever you’re facing today knowing something is growing. It will take time, but it will be worth it!

K E V I N • M I L L E R

Feel free to  to pass this on to someone who could use some encouragement!

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