Dear brothers and sisters, 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. - NLT James 1:2-4
The gravitational energy of the whole earth is estimated to amount to only a millionth of a horsepower! A toy magnet in the hands of a child can be thousands of times stronger. But what gravity lacks in brawn it makes up in tenacity. Its reach is limitless, shaping and governing the universe across unimaginable chasms of space. It’s frail attraction keeps the moon orbiting the earth, the planets revolving around the sun, and the sun along with a billion other stars rotating around the center of our galaxy like a cosmic pinwheel.1 Just like gravity, perseverance in the heart of a believer is powerful when partnered with God’s grace. James, the half brother of Jesus is calling us to something that seems absurd initially. “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” He did not say, consider your parent’s divorce great joy, or not getting into the college of your dreams an occasion to celebrate, but to realize that an opportunity to grow spiritually is right before you. It is your spiritual growth (living like Christ through daily surrender) that is at stake in these moments. Trials by themselves don't grow us, they only allow us to see who we currently are. But if we will not back away, or quit in the middle of a hardship, something miraculous can happen. If we don’t quit, and instead choose to trust that Jesus is with us, and that He still has our good in mind, we will GROW! If we quit and give up trusting Jesus, then growth is an impossibility. On the other hand, in times of pain and sorrow, if we turn our trust to Him, the impossible becomes possible, and spiritual growth will naturally happen. Now that is a reason to celebrate! Like gravity, be relentless in trusting in Christ no matter what you face and you will see that a small thing like faith will make a huge difference.
1Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.