In 1812, the genteel New Englander Ann Judson embarked with her husband Adoniram on a long ministry of danger and hardship. The Judsons were sailing to far-off Burma as pioneer missionaries.

Ann recorded in her diary how they survived in next-to-intolerable conditions. “Have been distressed for some days on account of the gloomy prospect before us,” she wrote. “Everything respecting our little mission is involved in uncertainty. I find it hard to live by faith, and confide entirely in God when the way is dark before me.”

Yet Ann added, “If the way were plain and easy, where would be the room for confidence in God. Instead, then, of murmuring and complaining, let me rejoice and be thankful that my heavenly Father compels me to trust in Him by removing those things on which we are naturally inclined to lean.”

Despite extreme hardship, Ann Judson would agree with the psalmist, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26).

What is our attitude when the props we have depended on are suddenly gone? Are we grateful for the trials that can strengthen our faith? For the child of God, great stress can develop great faith—and reveal God’s great grace.