"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ?I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt in You Learn by Living
No doubt hardships strengthen us. In my experience, some of the best leaders are those who have come through great difficulty or tragedy and carry the depth of their experience with them. And for those who follow Christ, difficulties do more than build our own confidence. In fact, sometimes we're at our strongest when we don't feel confident or strong or whole. Sometimes it's not about growing stronger but about knowing we're weak.
In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote about his mysterious "thorn in the flesh," which he begged God to remove from his life. Then he wrote this:
"But he said to me, ?My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
How has God redeemed your difficulties through his grace? How have these experiences made you a stronger leader?