I’ve heard it said that the ABC’s of spiritual growth are Adversity Builds Character. And I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t like adversity.

But if we’re going to grow spiritually, adversity is part of the growth process. When I’ve found myself in the midst of adversity, I don’t enjoy it. But when I’m on the other side and look back over that season, I can see how God has used that time to help me grow spiritually and deepen my walk with Him.

Life is full of blessings, but it also has its share of hardship, discouragement, pain, and tears.

Because Jesus went through difficult times, He understands what we’re feeling when we’re in the middle of these hard times. He faced rejection, He was betrayed, and He was falsely accused and misunderstood (by the very people He came to save). He experienced pain and suffering (that He didn’t deserve), and He faced death – death on a cross.

He knows what it’s like to feel alone – He experienced that on the cross when the Father had to turn away while Jesus bore our sins.

Listen to what Isaiah 53 says about what the coming Messiah would endure:

“Despised, forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, not esteemed, bore our griefs (sickness); carried our sorrows, smitten of God, afflicted, pierced for our sins, crushed for our sins, chastened for us, scourged for our healing, oppressed, afflicted, judged, put to grief.”

Jesus knows what it feels like to experience pain on this earth.

When we’re going through difficult and painful times, it’s easy to lose heart, to question, to get angry, to get depressed and discouraged. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Take courage. Don’t Lose Heart.

Because of what Jesus did on the cross for us, because of the Resurrection, we have hope – even when it seems we’re at the end of our rope.

As we approach Easter, let’s reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Let’s remember He has gone through everything that we could possibly face on this earth. Because He lives, we can look beyond our circumstances to what’s ahead for us – eternal life.

As John wrote in Revelation 21:4:

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will  no longer be any mourning, crying, or pain.”

I can’t wait for that day!

What passage of Scripture encourages you when you’re feeling discouraged (losing heart) in the midst of adversity?