And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (I Peter 5:10, ESV)
Today I discovered a “fact” I had heard for many years is not true at all. I had been told (and probably you as well) that diamonds form when extreme pressure is exerted on coal. Yes, there are similarities in how coal and diamonds form—underground, high heat, and high pressure—but that sparkling stone in engagement rings did not begin as a lump of coal. It is still amazing, however, that such a thing of beauty came into being under extreme conditions. We can learn a lesson from this.
Challenges. Adversities. Struggles. Difficulties. Whatever word we use, life often brings many difficult situations our way. When the heat and pressure feel intense, it’s difficult to consider that we may be a diamond in the making. Our struggles, and our response to them, help shape who we become. The outcome may be either positive or negative. These life lessons can make us bitter, broken, or better— depending upon how we choose to respond.
Facing Heat and Pressure
Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego felt the heat and the pressure (literally) when they refused to bow down and worship the golden image Nebuchadnezzar had erected (Daniel 3). The choice was theirs: worship the golden image and live or stay true to God and be cast into the intense heat of the fiery furnace. The fury of the king seemed as hot as the furnace, but the three Hebrews remained firm in their convictions. They would not bow to a false god regardless of the consequences. Three men may have gone into the fiery furnace, but a fourth was visible in the flames. God stood with them and preserved them. They came out of the fire as flawless diamonds.
James’s epistle tells us that we should face our adversities with joy. Does that sound unrealistic? Not really. The joy comes because of the qualities we develop through our struggles.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4, ESV)
God uses the adversities that come into our life to shape us into His image. As a Christian, we are never promised a trouble-free life. But we are assured that God will be with us, even when the heat and the pressure become so severe we question our survival. Our strength may be weak, but His never is. Isaiah 40:29 promises, “He gives power to the weak, and strength to the powerless” (NLT).
Making Obstacles into Opportunities
When trials and difficulties come into your life, consider them as an opportunity to:
- Grow more Christ-like.
- Develop greater trust in God.
- See God’s power at work in your life.
- Lead you to deeper prayer and study of His Word.
- Show greater appreciation for what you already have.
In I Peter 5:10 the Lord promised that after our trials He would “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us. Yes, with His help we will come through the heat and the pressure to discover joy and growth. He has allowed our adversities to shape us into a beautiful diamond.