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: ‘When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’ (James 1:2–4 NLT)
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’ (James 1:2 NASB); they come in every conceivable variety. Like the letters you get through your letterbox, some are addressed simply to ‘The Occupant’.
Will Rogers once read a newspaper headline that said, ‘Innocent Bystander Shot in New York.’ He quipped, ‘How about that? All you have to do to get shot in New York is be innocent and stand by!’ That’s how it is with life’s trials. Just stand by—and you’ll get hit. But 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 NIV)
Jesus was an overcomer, and because He lives in you today, you can be an overcomer too.