“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds …” (James 1:2)
It takes a long time and an incredible amount of pressure to turn a worthless piece of carbon into a valuable diamond. That’s why James writes: “Consider it a sheer gift … when tests and challenges come at you from all sides … under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (vv. 2-4).
Once you grasp that scriptural truth, whenever your life is interrupted by problems or circumstances you didn’t anticipate, you’ll begin to see God’s hand at work in all of it. The truth is that you’re either in a trial right now, just coming out of one, or heading towards the next one. James talks about “various trials” (v. 2); they come in every conceivable variety. Like the letters you get in the mail, some are addressed simply to “The Occupant”.
Several times a year we hear on the news about a person or family walking around downtown, shopping, waiting for a bus, etc., and getting hit by stray bullets as gang members shoot at one another. Sometimes all you have to do to get shot in San Antonio, or any other city, is to be innocently standing by! That’s how it is with life’s trials. Just stand by — and you’ll get hit. That’s the sin filled world we live in.
The fact remains that it takes adversity to produce spiritual maturity. It can’t come any other way. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus was an overcomer, and because He lives in you today, you can be an overcomer too.
Heavenly Father, as much as I do not like them, thank you for the trials that come my way. If they make me stronger, bring them on (Oh — You already have!) In Jesus’ name, Amen.