IMGP7559Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold - gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away - and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

A hunched man sat outside his house gazing into the stunted pines and granite crags of China’s Yellow Mountains.

“I was a porter for fifty years,” he explained through my translator. “Every day I carried goods up sixty thousand steps to the top.”

The man before me was a knot of muscles developed from five decades of hauling loaded buckets, balanced from a pole across his shoulders. Most locals I met played mahjong tiles everyday, but this gentle soul had done something extraordinary with his life. He’d carried bricks and parcels up more than one billion stairs.

Faith is a muscle that atrophies without exercise. When there’s no resistance from trials in life, my faith in God gets weak and flabby. Hardship makes me pray and trust God until my faith increases. Trials build up faith, and faith builds up glory.

Faith is my most valuable strength. I may be a deeply religious person and have an impeccable service record, but those don’t move the heart of God like faith in his Son. My heavenly Father wants to see a well developed, highly sculpted faith in my life. He wants my time on earth to be extraordinary, not mahjong-boring, but soaring-faith glorious.

Back in the Yellow Mountains I gave my new friend the gospel message, which he eagerly received. But he gave me something of almost equal value in return. He demonstrated that living a significant life requires overcoming significant hardship. If he’d loitered among the mahjong players instead of fighting the gravity of those stairs everyday, we would’ve never been touched by his incredible story or spurred on to glorious faith.

Prayer: Master Trainer, use trials to build up my most holy faith.

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