It never ceases to amaze me how much a group can change in just a few hours. I’ve led hundreds of them through our ropes course over the years, but last weekend we hosted a group of boys who really exemplified what the ropes course is all about. Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Those boys were like a living object lesson of that truth.
The day started on the low ropes course with some teambuilding activities. The boys were zealous, but quickly grew frustrated with each other. Despite having beautiful weather for the activities, arguing and bickering rapidly took over. It seemed everyone had a different idea on how things should be done, and no one wanted to do it the same way. As the activities progressed, however, they began to cooperate with each other and to respect one another’s ideas.
As their teamwork grew, so did their perseverance. Later in the morning, when we moved onto the high ropes course, the weather changed. The bright sun disappeared behind thick clouds and the temperature dropped rapidly. An hour later the rain started. I looked around at the boys to see how they would respond and was pleased to see that their determination never wavered. One by one, they all went down our 300-foot zip line with the rain pelting their cold faces. In the end they cheered for one another, exchanged high-fives, and hustled over to the cafeteria to enjoy their lunch.
As I watched them leave I realized how much their group cohesiveness had improved even as the weather had turned bad. In this I saw the truth that difficult circumstances build character, and I realized that God was using this experience to mold these young lives into the image of his Son.
We work so hard at avoiding pain and trials, but as O.A. has said, “Every testimony begins with a test.” If you feel that you are going through some testing right now, find hope in the assurance that God is working it for good, and in the end, you’ll have a testimony to share about how He brought you through it.