"I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties"

Hi friends,

Here’s a very popular view of how God answers prayers:


I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.

My prayers were answered.

How would you analyze this perspective?

What parts of it align with God’s word? And what context, if any, do you think is missing?


I’ve heard this sort of thing many times in various forms. I have found this sort of thing quite encouraging, in that it helps me see that God uses our circumstances to change our characters. If we look at it from this perspective, it’s partly in line with Romans 5:3-4

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us

God does deeply care about our characters, and his purpose is to shape us from one degree of glory to the next. Challenging events and difficult relationships may be part of this shaping in our lives. This is a positive message that some people may derive from the popular view you shared.

There’s also a great flaw in this type of thing, in that it teaches that all our problems and difficulties are directly sent to us from God. I think the danger in this, is firstly that it misses a great opportunity to teach the idea of Biblical suffering: that there is suffering in this world due to our sin, or sin of others. Secondly, it can misrepresent the character of God, the danger being that many might miss the character lesson that I outlined above, and instead focus on the ‘moral monster’ that torments them. This is more of a risk if this type of concept was given to someone deeply hurting from a traumatic circumstance.

Overall, I think it’s the sort of popular view that can feel nice, but misses the depth and breadth of who God is, and especially His love for us. It misses the point of the suffering that Jesus went through for us - he had dangers and troubled people about him - but he wasn’t needing a character change. He was demonstrating who God was through the circumstances. I think it could touch on being ‘me-centred’ because of this.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone else reading this has heard this sort of thing before, and how they felt when they heard it. :slightly_smiling_face: