Renewal, for a Christian, is taking place not in spite of difficulties and troubles, but because of them. Difficulties and disappointments and sufferings, even the deterioration of our bodies, are loosening our grip on the things of this world. They are causing our hands to lose the desire to grasp, to hold on to the things of this world, to get some security here. Our security must be in God himself. Our focus must be on that which is eternal, not on that which can be taken from us and will be taken from us soon.
The Lord uses troubles to turn us from loving the world and the things in it. He is committed to getting rid of the idols in our lives. He must be and He wants to be and He insists upon being the center of our lives–the one for whom we have the most affection, the one in whom we delight the most. He has commanded it. Even our stranglehold on good things, like family relationships, our jobs, even things that we do in ministry, helping other people–things that are not evil in themselves–may claim more of our affection than Christ Himself. And so He sends difficulties and trials to take the glitter off of them, to scrub off the facade so you can see: these things are not really all that after all. He does this so that He may fill up our desires and increase our longing to be with Him. Get a hold on this now! You will save yourself a lot of unnecessarily wasted time in your life!