How often we yearn to break free from life’s challenging circumstances, desperately hope for healing from sickness and disease, pray for problems to be fixed and long for an existence that is happy, calm and relaxed.

But what if the very things we seek to get away from are actually the making of us? What if those situations we struggle with and demands we dread are helping to shape us into Christ-likeness?

Would we view those things any differently? Could it make a difference to know we are continually being changed on the inside by God’s grace? I think so. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence in my own life, and most likely in yours as well.

For we actually grow most in times of adversity, flourish in yielding to God’s hand at work in us, see how our souls are moved to seek His face and realise that greater dependency produces greater reassurance and abiding fruit in us.

Because our lives are never just about us. They are part of God’s greater narrative in the world, whereby people, places and problems are far more interlinked than we can possibly know from our limited, earthly perspective.

You and I are conduits of God’s grace, channels of His mercy, love and compassion. All that we go through is teaching us how to relate better to God and to others. We are in the school of the Holy Spirit, continually learning how to live well as Christ-followers.

Sometimes we don’t like our homework very much, or repeating hard lessons until we finally get them. Then we start to see how God is using us to speak of His overcoming love during life’s painful circumstances.

Our lives become a living sermon. Our history is a testimony of faith and grace. Our stressful situations and difficult circumstances are means of helping others, just as much as they are shaping us.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for five minutes or fifty years, God will still speak to you and through you. All we have to do is be alert for His prompting, willing to obey and reflect on what Jesus has done for us.

He will provide the ability, words and opportunities. They may be many or few, but as long as we are faithful He will use every scrap of our faltering testimony, whether spoken, written down or lived out in some way.

Broken as we are ourselves, you and I are living Bibles to a broken world. We have a beautiful grace message to share, a word in due season for the wounded, a needful nugget of encouragement, a hand to hold and prayer to offer hope to the hurting.

Please don’t discount yourself as a witness for Jesus, or feel unworthy for the task, because God counts you in and makes you worthy by His grace. We all have a Holy Spirit-inspired role to play in drawing others to Christ in the imperfect living out of our faith.

Let’s go forth as fragile, boldly broken, work-in-progress, walking wounded warriors for God. Let’s not let our painful past or present circumstances deter us from being a willing, cheerful witness to His sustaining grace.