Many of us, when we look at a diamond we are amazed at its beauty and the precious nature that comes with beholding such an element. While we may marvel at the beauty of the diamond itself, the fact is that there is a process that occurs to produce such splendor. In the scientific world, elements are often discussed as it relates to the world that we live in and how matter is formed. As it relates to a diamond, the original form is in the existence of ‘coal.’
Scientifically speaking, coal and diamonds are essentially the same, however, coal contains more impurities compared to its 2nd form which is that of a diamond. Coal is made up of mostly carbon which means that it is not pure. It has been discovered that coal originates from decaying plants, fungi, and bacteria. So, in its essence coal is grossly impure. However, for diamonds to exist, coal must undergo heat and pressure.
When coal is pressurized and heated (usually by temperatures over a thousand degrees), it begins to form a crystalline structure in which we know it to be that of diamonds. However, one key element of this process is that when coal is pressured and heated, it causes the carbon to bond with four other atoms. As a result, the structure converts from its original form to the diamond form that we all know. When coal is formed into the crystalline structure, it not only proves to be that much harder but it contains more purity than its original form.
Have you ever experienced a moment in your life in which you were disappointed by a particular outcome? Perhaps you were hopeful about a matter and yet the result turned out to be negative. The Word of God gives every believer solace and direction as it relates to periods of testing and disappointment. In the book of James Chapter 1, the author who is the Apostle James writes to a nation of Jews at the time. In the first part of this chapter, he encourages fellow believers as they endure moments of testing in their faith.
(NLV) “My Christian brothers, you should be happy when you have all kinds of tests. You know these prove your faith. It helps you not to give up. Learn well how to wait so you will be strong and complete and in need of nothing.”
What James is saying here is that as Christians, we should embrace the fact that we are tested in our faith. As James says, when you and I are tested it proves our faith. It shows God how much we truly trust in Him and how willing we are to endure or have patience throughout our experience. He also says in verse 3 that when we are tested, it helps us not to give up in addition to the fact that it is an opportunity to learn how to wait.
Often, we are tested as a means to show us how to be patient and how to endure through the season of testing. Most of us don’t like it when we are disappointed or when we are in a season of testing, but the fact is that everyone experiences it at some point in their life. The question is, ‘Will you allow the periods of testing to make you stronger and build you in your faith?’ As James says, we should learn how to wait or be patient so that we are strong and complete, wanting nothing.
The key is understanding that testing produces strength and faith as long as we are allowing God to shape us in the process. Just like coal is impure before it is pressurized and heated, our lives are not necessarily as pure or righteous as God wants before he allows us to be tested. It is the time of testing that begins to shape our lives so that God can be glorified, and so that we gain strength and a new perspective. Such moments of testing also serve to purify our lives of sin and habits that are antithetical to who God wants us to be.
(NLV) “If you do not have wisdom, ask God for it. He is always ready to give it to you and will never say you are wrong for asking. You must have faith as you ask Him. You must not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave which is pushed around by the sea. Such a man will get nothing from the Lord. The man who has two ways of thinking changes in everything he does.”
Sometimes, when we are experiencing a trial or a test of our faith it is easy to doubt. Disappointment can lead to depression, which can also involve a heavy dose of doubt. Perhaps you were hopeful about a particular job that would have meant a higher salary. You prayed about it, trusted God for the opportunity, only to find that you were not chosen for it. Your faith and your perspective become shaken to a point of doubt.
However, it is the person who is reliant upon God who can take the disappointment and put it before God. It doesn’t mean that the feeling of loss is not felt as an emotion because you are human. We all feel a sense of pain and despair when we experience a disappointment. At the same time, a believer who is growing in Christ will see it as an opportunity to allow God to renew their mind and perspective.
As James mentions in verse 8, it is the person who has two ways of thinking who changes in everything he does. What do you believe? Do you trust God even in a moment of disappointment? Is he everything you are in need of even when life does not turn out as you hoped for? The key is to allow God to produce faith and strength in your life through the process of your testing.
(NLV) “The man who does not give up when tests come is happy. After the test is over, he will receive the crown of life. God has promised this to those who love Him.”
James says that the individual who doesn’t give up when a test comes is happy. This is a hard concept for many, but the fact is a person who puts their trust in God is the person who will remain steady. Again, it doesn’t mean that your emotions will not be affected because we are all human. However, when we take a moment to surrender our emotions and thoughts to God, He will bring us the joy and the peace that we need to move forward.
As James also says in verse 12, that after the test is over, a crown of life will be the reward for those who remains strong in their faith. It is God’s promise to reward us for not giving up both here on Earth and in Heaven. The goal is to allow God to produce patience and faith in your life. Just like coal is pressurized and heated which later produces a stronger and purified structure, our lives are built to do the same.
When we give our lives to Christ and allow Jesus to be our Lord and savior, He leads us in the path of righteousness. No one likes it when the expectation of a dream or a desire is met with a disappointment. However, even when life does not give us what we want at the very moment, it means for one that God has something better in mind for us. Secondly, it is a time to reflect and appreciate the time of testing which increases your strength and faith.
Finally, when you have endured your season of testing, you will be able to say to someone else that God is faithful and that you understand the perspective of the person you are speaking to. Besides the fact that our testing is meant to glorify God and to enhance our lives, one essential part is that our moments of testing also serve as a testimonial to someone else. Others may come to you who have experienced what you did, which means you can give them your own story as you went through the ordeal.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? God wants to know you, but you must accept Jesus in the pardon of your sins. Jesus died on the cross and rose again for you and I. Even you who may be an unbeliever, you are not immune to the fiery trials and tests of life. However, with God through Jesus Christ you will be empowered to reach success and a higher level of endurance. For those of us who are in Christ, we must stand firm in our faith. Never giving up on the promises of God is what produces strength, endurance and ultimately a resolve that is unshaken. The reward of never giving up will then be given to those of us who stand.