1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV: In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Growing up means different things to each of us perhaps. For some of us, there are more fond memories than bad--for some of us, the other is true. For me, growing up included being ‘the new kid,’ and being an easy target. My physical and personality makeup made me a delight for bigger boys with something to prove. Looking back, I have learned to consider the tough times as part of what has made me who I am. And I have credited God for letting me go through even the most difficult times, because I know who I am, and I have seen what others have become. Character is said to be built, and there is good reason for that. Character does not come easy or cheap. It is nurtured over time, and often involves many tough times and hard lessons. When I was young, I use to ask, “Why?” And with regard to life today, I still do. But the tough times still come and there is still plenty of character needing built within me. Knowing that doesn’t make dealing with everything a piece of cake--but it sure makes it easier to remember that God is still God, good can come from bad, and I can, in the midst of a storm, still experience His peace.