Tough times may come in spurts or as an onslaught.  Problems come in clusters with solutions seeming scarce.  These times test our mettle and refine our gold.  They take away the props so we can lean fully on God.   They take away our false dependencies and smash our idols.  They can’t take away God, but they should bring us closer to Him.  Whatever prepares us for more nearness to our Father is invaluable in our maturing.

 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NASB).