In our guest writer series this week, we hear from Pastor John Travis of Center Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Pastor John is a graduate of Arkansas State University, where he received a degree in graphic design. He is the Marketing Coordinator for Business Services at Ritter Communications. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Jonesboro and have three children: Michael, Matthew, and Lindsey. To read more from Pastor John, visit centerhillmbc.com.

Every problem that challenges us is making us stronger and growing our faith in God’s ability to deliver us.

I have a cousin who squatted 600 pounds. Truthfully, that was last year about this time, so he may be able to do more than that now. That’s a pretty crazy concept for me to imagine.

When we were in high school together, he couldn’t do that. How did he get to the point where he could stand up under a barbell with 600 pounds of weight?

The answer is: a little at a time.

I grew up in a church tradition that warned people not to pray for patience because asking for patience invited problems. It was pretty common to hear people say, “don’t pray for patience, because you know what that brings.”

The Apostle Paul gives the opposite advice:

"Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance." -Romans 5:3

Paul doesn’t say to avoid troubles and trials. He says to rejoice when problems come because they produce perseverance. In other words, they make us stronger.

We endure smaller troubles that teach us to trust God so that when bigger challenges present themselves, we already have a habit of dependence.

If my cousin had started with 600lbs, it would have hurt him and possibly permanently injured him. In the same way, our 18-year-old selves couldn’t handle the problems our 40- or 50-year-old selves routinely work through. We have built up perseverance over our lives; a little at a time.

Rejoice when challenges come today because God is making your confidence and faith stronger.