One of the best things to come our of our difficulties – and sometimes the only good thing – is the repentance that takes place as a result. Trials are perfect times to clear the conscience. Suffering in the present can prepare the way for a deeper, more fulfilling, more committed Christian experience in the future. And there need not be any glaring, awful sin in our lives to take advantage of this process.
Take the example of Jeremiah. If there was anyone in Jerusalem who had conducted himself uprightly in the days leading up to the city’s destruction, it was him. The prophet was likely the man closest to God in the entire place. Yet he includes himself in a call to repentance after the ruin arrived.
“Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.
We have transgressed and rebelled;
You have not pardoned.”
– Lamentations 3:40-42 (NKJV)
Repentance and growth are closely tied together. Sin at any level or in any amount is not worth holding on to. Our fellowship with God is much too vital to allow it to drift into the distant past. The moment of greatest difficulty provides the greatest motivation to turn from even the smallest sin and draw that much nearer to Him.