I was so proud of my youngest granddaughter, Amanda, when her volleyball team won a big tournament. After they won, I told her, “I’m proud of you, Honey.”

Later, Amanda’s team played in a regional tournament, and lost to the tournament champions. Amanda was heartbroken after her loss, and so she asked me, “Papa, are you still proud of me even though we lost?”

Of course I was still proud of her. In fact, I was even more proud of her after she lost because she had been humbled by her defeat. She was learning how to win and lose with the right attitude.

I believe God deals with His children in much the same way. He balances our victories and successes with trials and defeats.

Everyone loves to win. But we’d rather win against someone who is at our talent level or better than play against someone who’s far below it. So how do we increase our ability to handle tougher competition? It takes hard work and painful defeats. This applies to every part of our lives, especially our walk with God.

God uses our trials to get us ready for bigger things to come. They push us just past the limits of our strength so we are forced to trust God to get through them. When we endure them with the right attitude, they will teach us valuable life lessons and produce godly character in our lives.

A well-known preacher once said you are either in the middle of a trial, at the end of a trial, or about to walk into one. Where are you at right now? Chances are, you’re in a trial. As painful as your situation might be, remember that God wants you to be a winner. Everything He allows in your life is building you up for this. Won’t you trust Him to get you through today’s hardships?

All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestation of His grace, power, and love. — Hudson Taylor

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder