“Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ.” Ro 8:37 NLT

Just as there is a condition known as “post-traumatic stress,” researchers are now talking about “post-traumatic growth.” One line of thinking is that adversity can lead to growth. Another is that the highest levels of growth cannot be achieved without adversity. But adversity doesn’t automatically bring growth. Much of the outcome depends on how you respond to adversity. Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Sooner or later, the world breaks everyone, and those who are broken are strongest in the broken places.” Sometimes that’s true. But sometimes people write beautiful things and believe them to be true—or hope they’re true—and yet they don’t help. Hemingway himself had a brokenness that ended his life because the pain was too great. On the other hand Joseph, who was betrayed by his family, falsely accused of rape and unjustly imprisoned, looked back and said, “God intended it all for good” (Ge 50:20 NLT). The key to post-traumatic growth is in seeing God in all things, drawing close to Him, trusting Him when you can’t understand the situation, and knowing He only has your best interests at heart. When it comes to serving God there are two sides to the coin: success and suffering. We like the first, and try to avoid the second. But they’re both part of God’s plan. God called Paul into the ministry, saying, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Ac 9:16 NLT). But hard times didn’t make Paul doubt his faith, or the God he served: “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”