Our culture may as well mark the word "enough" as archaic in the dictionary because having enough is never enough. Just flip channels or page through popular magazines and it is clear that no one is ever expected to have enough. And any comments that challenges can bring good things in their wake is distastefully discarded as sick or negative.
But the older I get, the more I am convinced of the blessing of enough and the benefits of challenges.
When I accept that I have enough I am really acknowledging God as an adequate provider. In truth, God is often a bountiful provider, but He is always an adequate provider. My grandparents kept careful track of when canned goods were purchased to make sure they did not spoil before they were used. This was because their "extra food" shelves in the basement looked suspiciously like a disaster relief stockpile. Although they had obviously had "enough" (they died in their mid-80s and early 90s respectively) the fear that lingered after weathering the Great Depression as a self-employed carpenter never really stopped for them. It is a hard thing, but the financial challenges of the past few years have left me with a slowing growing belief that God gives us enough to do what He wants us to do, and not having too much can prevent me from doing harm when I think I'm being generous.
And I can't think of a single challenge that has not brought an unanticipated abundance of blessing in its wake. My first awareness of this came when I was in Junior High and became the target of a very successful bully. It was not a pleasant experience, but I learned the value of kindness, the power of thinking before I spoke and a passion for always standing up for the underdog. I also learned that my parents thought I was pretty neat, valued my input in how to handle the situation and worked hard to help me make my world larger to dilute the stings I experienced. I would not give up even one of those blessings to have foregone the bad parts of the experience. I have even come to the point where my compassion for the bully and the poor kids that got sucked into the chaos is by far my strongest emotion about the whole thing.
Maybe all that is part of the reason that this Bible verse is one that speaks truth to my soul.: 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. Romans 5: 3-5
O Spirit of God, when we face challenges, supercharge our faith that we might remain most focused on learning from our sorrows, woes, grief, frustration, fear and impatience. Open our hearts that we might seek the lessons and welcome the good rather than get stuck on the crumby stuff. Help me persevere that my character might grow good and strong in the hope of Your Love. I'd rather it be faster, of course, but help me to rest in the knowledge that Your timing is perfect. AMEN