All types of problems face us including downsizing, illness of a loved one, Family issues, money problems, and all sorts of other complex local, national and international challenges that require our best efforts and our enduring courage.  

During challenges like these you may hear or have heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”   

Yes, enduring life’s hardships can make us stronger and has the potential to strengthen our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual fortitude.   

Max Lucado goes farther with this thought in his “On the Anvil.” Lucado likens the challenges and hardships we face to being on a blacksmith’s anvil where the metal [us] is pounded and run through the fire in order to become what it is intended to be. The forging of metal can take a lump of steel and shape it into a finished, beautiful object.  

As you go through those life experiences that shape you, who are you becoming? Is your character being shaped for the better or for the worse? You know you are not the same after you have suffered a loss or great challenge. Are you stronger in what is good? Are you learning from those experiences and challenges? Or are you becoming negative, hardened or bitter?   

We all have a choice in which path we take. It is true that God has a plan in this shaping process, but I also believe individuals have a choice in letting their character be shaped for the better or for the worse.   

Moving to a foreign country for the first time such as Germany or Japan may be a challenging period as you adjust to a new job, culture and language. It is during this time you do indeed have a choice – accept the demands of this new life and be open to learning about new cultures or you can let this rich and maybe once in a lifetime opportunity escape you by refusing to have your horizons broadened.  

As you face the challenges before you whether good or bad, remember to think about who you are becoming during these times on the anvil.