Friction occurs when the desires of my heart and my external reality are at odds with one another. In order to resolve the friction, we are prone to believe the best way to do this is to change our external reality.
Think back to the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4. He’s fasted for forty days and the devil comes to him to test him. What approach does the devil take? “Jesus, you haven’t eaten anything for forty days. I can see that you are hungry. Commands these stones to turn into bread and the problem will be resolved.”
The devil spots the friction. There is conflict between Jesus’ “inner life” and outer reality. So the devil says, “Jesus, you need to alter your outer reality.” Jesus says, “No, I need to nourish my inner vitality.”
The devil’s suggestion to resolve the conflict is for Jesus to change his outer reality: command the stones to become bread. But Jesus vehemently opposes this tactic. Jesus says, “I don’t need to alter my outer reality. I need to feed my inner life on the Word of God.”
Learning to interpret the hard times correctly means embracing a hard-to-swallow truth: the best way through hard times isn’t to change your outer reality, but to feed your soul through the hard times. That’s the Jesus way.