What makes diamonds so beautiful? You probably know the four characteristics of diamonds – carat, cut, color, clarity. While all of those characteristics make a diamond valuable, it is the cut that gives it that brilliance, that sparkle, that beauty that is so appealing. A well cut diamond improves the stone’s ability to transmit light, giving it a rainbow of reflected colors (fire) and that intense sparkle (scintillation) as it moves. But diamonds are not naturally beautiful and valuable. They are precious stones made of crystalline carbon. They are formed under extreme pressure and extreme temperature, miles and miles under the earth’s surface. Their beauty and value comes from being subjected to being crushed, pressed and squeezed.
Do you feel like the weight of the world is on you? Do you feel under pressure and not sure if you can hold up?
When life gets tough and each day seems like a struggle we often find ourselves asking this question… God, why? But today we propose a different question for you to ask. Instead of asking “why,” how about asking this instead, “God, what do you want to build into me through this trial?”
Following Jesus does not promise us a struggle-free life. In fact, Jesus tells us just the opposite. In John 16:33 we read these words of Jesus – “In this world you will have trouble.” The Greek word used here for trouble is “thlipsis” which literally means crushed, pressed, or squeezed as from a great weight.
Now back to the question we proposed asking where God is in the midst of being crushed, pressed and squeezed. The Bible tells us that it is during trials that we grow and mature. Not an easy thing to digest, but it is true. In James 1:2-4 we read this – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
A few verses later we see this – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (1:12) The crown of life referred to in this passage is not just referencing eternal life, but rather, also life here and now enjoyed abundantly and in greater fullness.
So today, know that God is with you, and that He is using the “weight of the world” that is on your shoulders to make you more beautiful and valuable, to make you more like His Son, Jesus.
New Bern, North Carolina