“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory” (Psalm 63: 1-2).

D. L. Moody says that when it comes to our spiritual lives, “We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.” No one seeks affliction as a helpful aid to spiritual growth, but it’s hard to reject the truth of Moody’s assertion. When things are going well and we feel prosperous and secure, we easily forget how our Father has provided for us. Of course, Moody was painfully aware that without searching for them, troubles inevitably find us. When they do, he advises us to face them—and even, if possible, to embrace them—with courage and faith: “Let troubles come if it will drive us closer to God.” No doubt you’ve heard a coach say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That’s true, and the way to be tough and strong is to “get going” to God in our weakness. Robert Murray McCheyne writes, “You’ll never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast wilderness. He is like a rock rising above the storm. He is like a rose blooming in the midst of desolation.” One of the troubles that keep finding us is the depth of our own waywardness. Each of us is engaged in our won spiritual battles. Moody famously admitted, “I have more trouble with myself that with any other man.” In all our troubles, whether circumstantial or personal, it all boils down to the prayer of the old-time spiritual: “standing in the need of prayer…it’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord…Standing in the need of prayer.”

Adapted from The One Year Book of Encouragement