"Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing His glory when it is displayed to all the world." 1Peter 4:12-13
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For 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 strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:2-4
The Christian walk is not an easy one. You are swimming against the current in this world and you are bound to hit some pretty big waves. Jesus said that because the world hates Him it will hate you as well, (John 15:18-19) because you belong to Him. Jesus never promised to remove our problems but promised He would be there with us through them. They come to make us strong. They come to purify us. They come to make us like Jesus.
The Lord showed me that a process that takes place in nature is what takes place in a Christians life. A lump of coal is one of the dirtiest rocks you can find. If you handle it, it leaves black marks on your hands and clothes. But if you take that lump of coal and apply heat, pressure, and time, a transformation takes place and that lump of coal becomes a diamond. A precious jewel.
When Christ first found us, all of us were like that lump of coal. We were dirty with sin. He picked us up and washed us with His blood and then using the pressures of this world and the cost of serving Him, in time He lovingly created diamonds. People who have counted the cost and say no matter what I will serve Him. Like Job they say; "He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10.
People are looking for real hope and real joy. They are watching us, seeing if our faith will sustain us. Many souls have been won to the kingdom simply because they saw the joy with which Christians faced trials.
How do you face your trials? Do you do it with groaning and complaining? Or do you count every trial as an opportunity to grow, to draw nearer to our Saviour? Do you persevere? Jesus says this in Revelation 3:10-13; "Because you have obeyed My command to persevere, I will protect you from the time of great testing that will come upon the whole world. Look I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of My God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write God’s name on them, and they will be citizen’s in the city of My God – the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from My God." And they will have a new name inscribed upon them." Amen. Lord, we look froward to that day.