Although our family has not been too caught up in the fitness craze, we did acquire some exercise equipment. But one contraption I have use is a “rebounder”. The would-be athlete can jog in place on this miniature trampoline, rebounding up and down.

Evidently this motion has some additional health benefits–stimulating the body’s lymph system.[1]

Just as there are physical benefits from exercising on a rebounder, there are spiritual benefits from rebounding from the trials of life. As much as we might prefer to skip our troubles, the Bible makes it clear that God intends to use them productively in our lives.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:1-5; see James 1:2-4).

Watchman Nee would spend the last years of his earthly life in a communist prison in China. He observed, “The trials confronting us on the way to full enjoyment of our inheritance in Christ may be quite as gigantic as were some of the Canaanites (Num. 14:9), but God intends to use them for our increase. Faith sees them as food. If we but knew it, we could thrive and grow on difficulties.”[2]

If we are living according to our own resources such “food” gives us severe indigestion! Truly God’s ways are higher than our ways. It has been said that God had only one Son without sin, but none without suffering.

How can we rebound from our troubles, seeing them as opportunities for spiritual growth?

One essential is to gain a win/win perspective on life.

What does this involve? We need to so surrender our rights and depend upon God that whatever circumstances face us, we can learn and grow. Like a sailor who can skillfully tack back and forth into a headwind, God can so live through us that the Enemy’s afflictions are over-ruled for God’s purposes in our lives. This may sound idealistic, yet God’s Word shows us the way.

The apostle Paul could eventually testify,

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

Paul illustrates this win/win perspective when he considered the possibilities of martyrdom, continued imprisonment, or release:

” … Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (Phil 1:20-24).

With Christ as our Life-source, may we can keep rebounding from the problems which confront us.

Lord, our problems would tear us down were it not for Your wonderful grace and providence. Incline our heart to You so that we persevere and grow through our trials. In Christ’s name, amen.

[1] Unlike the blood which is propelled though the veins by the heart, the lymph system has to flow mostly uphill by some other mysterious process.

[2] Watchman Nee, A Table in the Wilderness, 11/17.

Copyright 1998, 2015 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for noncommercial use if credit is given to the author and Biblical quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (copyright by Thomas Nelson).

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