The Laingsburg flood of 1981 was the worst of its kind in South African history. In two days nearly half a meter (almost 17 inches) of rain fell, 104 people died, and 184 houses were destroyed. The town of Laingsburg was built close to the “dry river bed” of the Buffalo River. What the town engineers failed to realize, however, is that this relatively small river floods its banks every 100 years or so. Although the local farmers were initially grateful for the rain, their relief soon turned to dread as a six-meter (almost twenty-foot) wall of water rushed through the town, carrying with it people, animals, houses, and belongings.

When we endure a flood of challenging circumstances, it can threaten to drown our resolve and suffocate our faith. The apostle Paul faced his fair share of tough times. He was shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, and robbed (2 Corinthians 11:23-29), yet he remained firm in his confident trust in God and concluded that he “would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am” (2 Corinthians 11:30).

The apostle boasted in his weakness so that the power of Christ could work through him. He took pleasure in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles he suffered for Jesus. Time and again, God showed Himself faithful to Paul, not by keeping him from the dark, rushing waters of suffering and pain, but rather by declaring, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Jesus walks with us though the hard times and equips us to grow in character through them.

Paul’s epiphany led him to declare, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Look to Jesus and the way He’s molding you when difficulties come calling.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 John 5:1-21