Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. -Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

In the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, an American teenager is under the tutelage of a Japanese martial arts teacher. The boy, Daniel, has been bullied and wants to change his situation…but doesn’t see what work is ahead to make it happen.

Daniel has to wash and wax cars by hand over and over again. He has to paint fences, sand decks, too. What?

As we all know, these seemingly repetitive motions have a purpose…to condition Daniel for greater challenges ahead. They also give him perseverance and patience in the face of seemingly endless, grueling situations.

In life, God may put us through painful, grueling situations without any end in sight–at least to our limited view. Can we trust that He has His reasons in them? Can we find His blessings in them? Can we hone our technique of looking at the situation with eyes of compassion, and responding with grace?

In applied terms, this might be understanding that hurtful people are really just showing how hurt they are inside. It might be stopping to take a deep breath before responding, so that our words and actions please God, rather than our flesh. And it most certainly is trusting and thanking God for these trials, because He wants to refine us further…ever closer to Christlikeness.

He’s not done with us yet, which shows His love for us. We love and praise Him always, and entrust Him with our future, always praying and believing.

Wax on, wax off!