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Bristlecone pines are the world’s oldest living trees. Several are estimated to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old. In 1957, scientist Edmund Schulman found one he named “Methuselah.” This ancient, gnarled pine is nearly 5,000 years old! It was an old tree when the Egyptians were building the pyramids.

Bristlecones grow atop the mountains of the western United States at elevations of 10,000 to 11,000 feet. They’ve been able to survive some of the harshest living conditions on earth: arctic temperatures, fierce winds, thin air, and little rainfall.

Their brutal environment is actually one of the reasons they’ve survived for millennia. Hardship has produced extraordinary strength and staying power.

Paul taught that “tribulation produces . . . character” (Romans 5:3-4). Adversity is part of the process that God uses to produce good results in our lives. Trouble, if it turns us to the Lord, could actually be the best thing for us. It leaves us wholly dependent on Him.

So we should pray not just for relief from our affliction, but for the grace to turn it into greater openness to God and to His will for us. Then we can be strong in calamity, and at peace in the place where God has planted us. —David Roper

THINKING IT OVER
What trial in your life is making you wonder why God is allowing it?  It’s a question of faith–are we just faithful in the good times?  Can we be faithful in bad times?  Remember the story of Job?  I remember watching an interview done by GMA’s Arnold Clavio with a 10-year old blind girl, Fatima Soriano.   She was born blind and was afflicted with end-stage kidney failure.  This condition necessitated daily dialysis every four (4) hours.  Despite all these, her faith never wavered.  True enough, they were able to cope, and also got a kidney transplant to boot!  All throughout her interview, she was as upbeat and bubbly as can be!  She continues to be an inspiration to others—even to the point that she can cause their faith to induce healing. 

How we behave in difficult times tells a lot about our character.  If we can still remain steadfast in adverse situations, it means that we can probably weather most situations.

God uses our difficulties to develop our character.

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