By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

In 1995, Yellowstone National Park in America conducted an interesting research study. They decided to release 14 wolves in the park and monitor their influence in the park.

The wolves immediately started hunting the deer(of which there were far too many in the park). The numbers started to decline and at the same time the deer started to avoid certain parts of the park. This led to certain flowers and plants starting to regenerate and bloom again. Forests of aspen and willow trees started to flourish again.

Along with the trees and bushes, came more berries and bugs. This attracted interesting bird species. In the rivers, beavers were spotted again who were previously extinct. The dams they built provided habitats for otters, muskrats and other reptiles.

In a short space of time, with more balance between predator and prey, the entire ecosystem in the park changed for the better. There was less erosion and more species flourished.

Our own lives can be compared to the park. If we never encounter challenges, we run the risk of stagnating. Resistance, difficult seasons and challenging events shape us and cause our faith and character to grow.

In James 1: 2-3 we read, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” In Romans 5: 3-5 it is written:  “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” And in Romans 8:28, we read: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Does God bring bad things on our paths? No. He is a good God whose plans are for us to prosper and not to harm us. However, we live in a broken world with an enemy that wants to destroy us. Amidst this, we can live with confidence because Jesus Christ has already overcome evil.

Are you currently going through a difficult, challenging time? May I encourage you to not to see it as an obstacle, but as a gift. During these times, we discover and experience something of God's character that we might have missed if everything always went according to plan. God is still able to work everything together for good. He carries us. And when we are weak, He remains strong. Let’s remember that. God bless.

Father God thank you for the good and bad times in my life. Please help me not to become discouraged in difficult times, but rather to see the gift to discover Yourpresense in my life more. I ask it in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

• See video of the Yellowstone Park experimentat or on Stories van Hoop page on Facebook.
• Feedback: Give feedback about the series or share your testimony of God’s goodness in your life at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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